If you read Christie’s blogs regularly, we’re willing to bet that you’re something of an Aging-in-Place design expert because it is one of our specialties. We’ve defined what it means and we’ve talked about how Aging-in-Place can help you thrive in your home as the abilities of your body change naturally with age. Aging-in-Place can keep you safe, and there are a ton of modifications available to you. We don’t want to harp on the same angles we’ve covered before, but we will take a moment to introduce any newcomers to the concept.
For anyone unfamiliar with Aging-in-Place, it is a type of home design that consists of mobility-friendly design additions—like handrails in the shower or ramps for wheelchair use—to make aging safer while living at home. We want to talk about the benefits of having a walkout basement that includes elements of aging-in-place design for this blog. We can think of plenty of features, but first…
Why a walkout and why do you need it?
Basements are bonus rooms, which can serve a million purposes—a man cave, rental space, or an in-law suite. A walkout basement means one or more portions of the basement are above ground level. These projects are most convenient for houses that sit on a slope for one of those portions that sits above ground level. Not only does a walkout basement provide more natural light, but it also gives a bit of privacy to the occupant.
Not everyone will go into assisted living when they are older. Some will live with family as they age. For older people, living without assistance can become difficult but it is important to give them as much independence as possible. Having a walkout basement customized to needs and ability levels is a great solution! Home modifications can accommodate limited mobility caused by things like severe arthritis, wheelchair or walker use, or diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Spending more quality time with your family as aging reduces your mobility is priceless. Elderly living facilities are not. In fact, the average cost of living in a nursing home is $8,000-$9,000 every month in the state of Colorado. That’s over $100,000 per year. The average Aging-in-Place walk-out basement remodel is a one-time cost instead of a monthly bill, averaging anywhere from $80,000-$150,000 yearly, depending on wants and needs. Seniors will also lose more than money by living in a facility—they lose autonomy and quality time with family and friends. Plus, according to AARP, 77% of seniors would prefer to stay in their homes even if it meant day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care during retirement.
So, why do you need it? As people get older, their bodies change, but their houses don’t. This makes living in the same home difficult without modifications. An aging-in-place remodel helps you be close to family, helps your aging parent to stay more independent, keeps them safer, and saves you money. It can even add to the market value of your house.
What features does Christie’s recommend?
For the entryway, we suggest sensor lights leading to the door and a no-step entry. Additionally, entryway, bathroom and bedroom door widths should be at least 32-inches, which requires a 36-inch door. The standard doorway built in today’s homes will not fit wheelchairs or walkers easily. Doors with lever handles are easier to use for people with arthritis. The floors should be non-slip, which can be a coating or an alternative type of flooring like non-slip vinyl flooring.
The bathroom should include a walk-in shower or tub and safety bars to reduce the possibility of slipping and falls. Safety bars are also good to have by the toilet because people with chronic pain or injuries to their legs may have difficulties getting up from a seated position. The sinks, not just in the bathroom but the kitchen as well, should have anti-scalding controls installed. A minor burn on a young person can heal pretty quickly, but the risks for older people can escalate quickly and easily.
Think about reachability. Washer and dryer machines should be front-loading with a base beneath them to prevent bending down, closets, and cabinets with frequently used items should have all items within easy reach, and Lazy Susans will become your best friend. Those sinks we mentioned before should also be at a slightly lower level to accommodate for wheelchair accessibility if necessary. Additionally, modifications like pull-out drawers and shelves make workspaces much more accessible for people looking to age safely.
Why Christie’s Design/Build Remodeling?
There are so many more accommodations we could talk about depending on mobility levels and necessary accommodations, the combinations are endless. Christie’s can customize your project to your exact needs. Our president and founder of Christie’s Design/Build Remodeling, Steve Christie, is a CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) professional who has 20+ years of experience with the process of Aging-in-Place design and remodeling. The organizations that created a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist program are AARP and NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) because of the rising popularity of Aging-in-Place services. They wanted an in-depth program for therapists, architects, contractors, and more to guarantee that all of the bases were covered for the elderly community’s care. Everyone in your family can benefit from proper planning for Aging-in-Place to make your home as safe and comfortable as possible for as long as possible. Give us a call today for a consultation!