Modifications add to the years
A recent AARP survey found that 90 percent of people aged 65 and older would rather live in their own residences than go into assisted living or a nursing home. Keeping the familiarity and routines of one’s home far outweighs relocating to a care facility, and modifying that dwelling with simple or extensive alterations can go far to support what is called “aging in place”—enhancing the ease of living at your own home.
Accessibility may be the first word that comes to mind when discussing aging in place for Bay Village older adults. According to U.S. Census information, 17.5 percent of Bay Villagers are over 65. Aging often brings issues of mobility—walkers or wheelchairs may be required for movement—and that’s an important concern for the home.
Adding a ramp to a residence is a common solution. Stairways and steps are challenging as the years go by.
While certain materials and style for the ramp may add to the cost, you may expect to pay $1,000 to $4,000, according to HomeAdvisor, a service which tracks home repair prices and offers other recommendations.
Federal ADA ramp guidelines for hand-operated wheelchairs call for a maximum slope of 1 inch for every 12 inches of length (an 8.3 percent grade). For power wheelchairs or mobility scooters, it is 1.5 inches for every 12 inches in length (a 12.5 percent grade). Thirty-inches is the maximum ramp height for 30 feet in length before there is a rest platform or turn.
Knowing these specifications is critical in planning an exterior ramp; your yard may not have enough space for a 30-foot ramp, which means adding another turn to the ramp, or if that is not an option, an outdoor wheelchair lift may be an alternative.
Once you make it easy to enter a residence, the job is not over. If the home is older, you may need to widen doorways and existing doors may have to be replaced if they are narrower than 32 to 36 inches, the recommended width for a wheelchair to pass through easily. This is usually an inexpensive conversion for most applications.
What may be the next most important consideration is a no-step entry shower, which can easily accommodate the rustproof wheelchairs designed for shower use. The cost of such showers depends on the size and materials used and may require significant time and effort to install. But they offer the convenience and ease for older adults who want to keep their independence when showering.
Bathroom space is critical for wheelchair use. Five feet of circulation space is recommended for a wheelchair to navigate easily. If more space is needed, a simple method to expand the bathroom is a bump-out project. Extending a wall could add 25 percent more space at a reasonable cost.
Just like with the bathroom, the kitchen needs space for similar wheelchair navigation. A bump-out can add necessary space, and wider entrances and doorways allow travel with ease. Counters should be accessible from a seated position, including the kitchen sink. The ideal height is about 24-26 inches, but this can be adjusted to the individual.
Since it’s hard to reach cupboards from a wheelchair, cabinets and storage units should be lower than the standard height. Cabinets with pull-out shelves and lazy susans make kitchen products and cutlery reachable. The oven, dishwasher and other appliances also require ease of access, as do electrical switches and outlets.
Another concern about aging in place for Bay Village older adults is the bedroom configuration. Once doorways are wide enough to comfortably admit a wheelchair, the bed and surrounding furniture need to be arranged optimally. For example, bookcase and nightstands need to be secured so they don’t fall over when you grasp them while trying to balance yourself.
Flooring should minimize the risk of falling. There are pros and cons of the most popular types—hardwood, laminate and carpeted. Some are more water resistant, some are better for mobility. It comes down to the amount budgeted, the décor, and the physical limitations you may have.
Older adults who want to remain in their own homes and current communities should begin planning now to age in place. Renovations and enhancements can make a big difference in giving older adults many years of living in their own homes.
When you choose a construction partner for your project, look for a company you can trust to complete the job on time and exceed your satisfaction. Don’t look any further—that’s Sciarappa Construction. We carefully listen to your needs and concerns. You’ll have a complete understanding of the scope of work, the schedule and the total cost.
The first step of your project is just a phone call away. Contact Sciarappa Construction at (440) 930-2882 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re located at 32961 Pin Oak Pkwy., Avon Lake, OH 44012.