Three Ways to Make Your Home Suitable for Retirement
Tribus Homes has a lot of experience with the various reasons why people build custom homes and home renovations in Toronto. Sometimes, it’s simply because they feel like it’s time for a change. Other times, it can be because their success and prosperity have given then the opportunity to live in their dream home.
Often, though, people decide that they want to build a new custom home, or turn an existing home into their dream home with a home renovation, because they’ve gone through a major change in their life. Maybe they’re newlyweds moving into their first home. Maybe they’re a growing family that wants a home that’s right for the kids.
And, often, it’s about retirement. Getting older is a part of life, and the newest trend is “aging in place”. People want to be able to stay in their homes if they can. If they have to move, they’d prefer to move to a new custom home that will accommodate their needs.
These are exactly the kind of questions that Tribus Homes’ expert designers and architects will work with you to answer. We’ve had clients who were retirees, and we know about aging in place. Here’s three things that we consider when working with senior clients looking for a new custom home or home renovation:
In general, we encourage senior clients to consider building a ranch-style, single-floor housing. While it’s possible to retrofit an existing home to include a chair lift for the stairs, or even an elevator, it may make more sense to simply have a single-floor home. Much of this will depend on the size of the lot, but if you can do it, it’s a good idea. When there are level changes in the floor, we prefer to signal them with a change in texture and color.
Beyond that, the home should be built with mobility in mind. Doorways, hallways, and overall floor space should be increased to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers. Door knobs should be replaced with lever handles, standard light switches with rocker switches, and flooring should be made non-slip where possible. And, if there are stairs, there should be handrails on both sides of the stairs, and the stairs should have non-slip tape at the very least.
This is a big one. A lot of seniors deal with real challenges using conventional bathrooms. So, when we’re working with a senior client on a new custom home or home renovation, we focus on the bathroom.
We recommend installation of safety grab bars to avoid slips and falls. We look at ways to increase the floor space, to make the room accommodating for walkers and wheelchairs. We make sure that bathrooms have accessible vanities. And, most importantly, we look at ways to replace an existing tub with either a walk-in shower with a seat, or an easy-access walk-in tub.
A lot of seniors take great pride in their kitchens; that’s one reason we make sure that a custom home’s kitchen is one that our clients can be proud of.
But it’s also important that a kitchen be usable. So, when we’re looking at a new kitchen for senior clients, we pay a lot of attention to ensuring that they can use their kitchen easily and productively.
We’ll suggest installing drawers instead of cabinets below the countertops where possible, swap out knob-style faucets for lever-handled faucets, and an elevated dish washer to avoid too much bending over. We recommend induction stoves, and suggest avoiding cabinets over the stove entirely, to minimize the likelihood of burns.
Also, since kitchen islands are both a useful way of increasing counter space and a potential mobility issue, we ask our clients to consider islands on wheels. They provide all the extra counter space, but can be adjusted to provide clearance for a walker or wheelchair.
Just a start
These things are just a start, though. Everything from color temperature to technology-powered lights, locks, and thermostats can all help with aging in place, as can accommodating care workers and family members who are providing assistance.
If you’d like to learn more about how a custom home or home renovation can help you or your loved ones be more independent and stay at home, call us at (416) 645-0565, or contact us here. We’ll give you our expert assistance, and help the seniors in your life keep the dignity and independence that they deserve.