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Home remodeling blog from Home Indeed in Independence, IA. Home design, renovation inspiration, and more.

How to Age-in-Place in Your Cedar Falls, IA Home

As we begin to age, we may start thinking about how we will live out our life. While it may not be the easiest plan and it certainly isn't created overnight, there are many options to consider! For some, moving into a senior living community that grants the opportunity for speedy medical help, and making new friends may be the answer. For others, perhaps moving in with family members will be the best fit. Or, perhaps you'd like to stay in your home for as long as possible! Choosing which is right for you and your family is the only thing that matters at the end of the day - but for those who would like to age-in-place, we're here to help you get prepared!

How to Age in Place in Your Cedar Falls, IA Home | Home Indeed

What Is Aging in Place?

According to the CDC, seniors aging-in-place is “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” Translation: as we get older, we stay in our homes! (Or, for some, move into the home of a family member). 

Aging-in-place has certain advantages, that while they may not work universally for everyone, work for some! With today's advancements in technology, including Smart Home technology, choosing to stay in your home or the home of a family member can be a safe and enjoyable option.

Choosing this path - if it is what you decide is best for your individual needs - can be beneficial to everyone involved. 

How to Prepare Your Home for Aging-in-Place?

Whether you are preparing a loved one's home or preparing to welcome an aging loved one into your home, there are some things you will want to do before making the move!

Here's where you should start:

  • Perform a home safety audit
  • Determine if the home layout is accommodating for current or future needs (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.)
  • Research Smart Home and communication devices
  • Talk with a contractor about retrofitting your home to meet common and specific aging-in-place needs

What Is Aging-in-Place Design?

This term refers to the different construction details and design elements needed to ensure any given home is suitable for the needs of a person who wants to remain independent and stay in their home as long as possible.

The best way to ensure your home is properly prepared is to contact an experienced design-build contractor. A professional team like Home Indeed's will know exactly what is needed to make your current home a place where you can easily age-in-place. A professional design-build team will be able to show you the design they recommend for your home, as well as the recommended products most people need for aging in place – and can move forward with making the changes and/or installing the most helpful products.

Home Improvement Products for Aging-in-Place

Talking with a professional contractor will give you some perspective when it comes to easy modifications like enlarging the doorways, installing ramps, etc., as well as the products your home might need to age in place. Here are the most commonly implemented ideas:

Non-slip floors

Soft smooth surfaces such as cork, rubber, or vinyl with minimal-to-no transitions will be easier to walk on and generally won’t be a trip hazard like pile or thickly padded carpets.

Bathroom adjustments

Grab bars in the bathrooms, adjustable height showerheads with a handheld wand, showers with no-threshold, or walk-in showers with a seat, anti-scald water devices, and thermostatic controls are some of the most common bathroom adjustments needed for aging in place. A Cedar Falls, IA contractor will be able to help you if you want to know how much it will cost to remodel your bathroom and the rest of your house as well, for that matter.

Lever-handled doorknobs

As you age, it gets more difficult to grip things; therefore, traditional doorknobs are harder to use. Installing lever-handled doorknobs is the perfect solution and you will be grateful that you have them when it comes to aging in place.

Light switches with a rocker panel

The same goes for traditional light switches. They are more difficult to use as you age. Therefore, opt for rocker panel light switches that don’t require much hand movement or gripping at all.

Kitchen adjustments

Kitchen adjustments are usually needed as well. You might want to include prep surfaces where you can sit while preparing meals versus having to stand for long periods of time. An island on wheels works well because it can be made with enough clearance for a wheelchair or walker.

Never install cabinets over the stove as this creates a balance hazard. It’s better to go with under-the-countertop drawers rather than lower cabinets that are hard, if not impossible, for a senior to reach. And don’t forget to consider your cabinet pulls also. D-type cabinet pulls are easier for a senior to grip.

Technology and Safety Products for Aging-in-Place

There are so many useful (and easy-to-use) technology products out there – for those of all ages! Learning to use things like smart speakers and other smart home accessories could be highly beneficial for all members of a home where aging-in-place is the plan!

If you're looking for ideas, here are some helpful products:

Smart Speakers
There are many to choose from out there (we are not affiliated, sponsored, or earning commissions from any of these ideas) for you to choose from. Some of the most popular are Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Google Nest, Apple Home, and more.

Smart speakers could benefit someone aging-in-place as they respond to voice commands. For those with mobility issues, this could really make a difference not only to day-to-day life and enjoyment but to safety, as well. Smart speakers can tell you the day's weather, play your favorite news station or music, prompt your phone to make a call, and more.

Video Doorbells
Whether you (or your loved one) chooses to age-in-place alone in their own home, or with a family member, video doorbells create an added layer of security for everyone inside. These doorbell units can pick up on motion outside and can ensure you always know who is entering your home.

Tablets
iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Kindle, the list goes on. For some seniors, learning new technology can be frustrating – but the reward is high! Tablets are a great way to access the internet, read the news, listen to music, keep in touch with friends and family, and can even be synced and connected to your smart speakers or video doorbells!

What’s Next?

Would you like to help with designing your home so it meets the age-in-place plan of you or a loved one? We're here for you! We are Home Indeed, and we have an onsite design-build team, and along with our two showrooms in Cedar Falls and Independence, IA, we are your one-stop shop for all-things home improvement.

Our design-build remodeling process ensures you will have access to an accountable professional through every stage of your project. Our team will guide you seamlessly through the initial design consultation to the final project completion while ensuring the proper communication, accountability, and budget control.

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