As a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) and member of the Virginia Beach Task Force on Aging, our principal designer Michelle Nettles is a great resource for anyone wanting to make their home more accessible.
Common obstacles to Aging in Place design
The idea of “aging in place” design- interior design and remodeling decisions that make homes safer and easier to move through for people who have begun to experience loss of mobility and other effects of aging- can be quite intimidating. Younger homeowners tend to think “What’s the point? I may not even live here until I need these features!” while older homeowners still may not consider accessibility-boosting options when planning a home remodeling project. It’s easy to understand why; after all, no one relishes the idea of losing their health and mobility with age. Contemplating one’s own mortality is never going to be on the top of most people’s fun list, but some forethought now can save a lot of money, hassle, and even aesthetics down the road.
(How many aging in place features can you spot in this image?)
Why you need aging in place design- even if you’re young and healthy
Younger homeowners planning a home remodel would do well to include some aging in place features. Thanks to the Baby Boomer generation, America’s population of senior citizens is growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging, “By 2060 there will be about 98 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2013.”
More older people means more demand for aging in place features in the housing market. Adding features like wider hallways, door levers instead of knobs, lever-handled faucets, etc. can make your house more attractive to a wider pool of buyers.
It’s also important to note that even a temporary injury can suddenly enlighten a person to all of the ways in which their home is not accessible. Many aging in place can come in handy if you or one of your family members ever experience an injury or illness.
Reassurance for older adults contemplating aging in place remodeling
Many older adults are acutely aware that they will one day need to modify their home in order to keep living there as they age, but actually committing to things like grab bars can be hard to do. Who wants to think about those things before they have to? Who wants to spend money on a home remodel only to end up living in hospital-like surroundings?
Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to sacrificing style for the sake of aging in place. Today there are so many fantastic options in aging in place products that are subtle and elegant, like shower grab bars that look like towel bars! And many of the features that would make your home, say, wheelchair accessible, can also make your home look better overall. Case in point: Wider hallways and doorways. This can easily be done during remodeling or original construction, and can make your home look more spacious. But it will also keep you from having to undergo the annoyance of further remodels later on when you need them more urgently. Even just choosing lower pile rugs can reduce the possibility of tripping- also good to consider if you have young kids!
Don’t be intimidated to talk about these issues with your interior designer. At MJN & Associates Interiors, we offer aging in place design in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and throughout the Hampton Roads area. Please contact us today to discuss your home remodeling needs!