Real Estate Trends and Tips
Age in Place with Comfort: According to AARP most Americans plan on remaining in their homes for as long as possible. Perhaps you already have considered the possibility that someday you’ll have trouble climbing stairs. So when remodeling or choosing a new home, you may want to look for a first-floor laundry room and bathroom to make your future life easier and potentially safer. Other things to keep in mind are the shower and lighting. Are the doorways wide enough to get a walker or wheelchair through? “Whoa” you say. I’m not there yet.” However, if you plan to comfortably (and securely) age in place, these are very important factors to address. It’s a matter of melding style and convenience improvements. I recently came across an article which featured recommendations by interior designer Mary Dworsky and would like to share a few of her suggestions with you.
- Living Room: According to Ms. Dworsky, we need 3 times more light in our 60s to see what we saw in our 20s. In our 80s, we need 5 times as much. Cover windows with sheer materials to cut glare while maximizing outdoor light. Supplement with table and floor lamps, recessed ceiling lights and mirrors to reflect existing light. Choose furniture that is easy to get up and out of, such as chairs with sturdy arms. Leave space to comfortably move between furniture pieces.
- Kitchen: Minimize features that require bending and heavy lifting. Raise the dishwasher 12 inches off the floor. Look for refrigerators with freezers at the bottom and pullout drawers. Raise the oven, and locate a sturdy shelf beneath it for setting hot pans. Vary counter heights to accommodate standing and sitting. If your kitchen has a center island, consider adding a shelf with table height seating.
- Bathroom: Grab bars now come in sturdy but stylish designs. Consider a “comfort height” toilet; choose a no-threshold or low-threshold shower with a door that’s at least 36 inches wide. And, always include a hand-held shower in case you’re not able to stand up.