Retrofitting: the addition of new features to older systems
"Do not regret growing older; it is a privilege denied to many."--Anonymous The typical US home is far from being of universal design; the assumption made by architects, builders and realtors is that that you will buy and sell many homes during your lifetime, following the same "conspicuous consumption" mindset used for buying a car. First there's the "starter home," next a "family home with an office and playroom for the teens"; lastly, there is downsizing to a "one-story" with few steps. That's a lot of buying and selling of homes, even if your job keeps you in one location for the duration of your career. Universal design moves in the exact opposite direction and says, "While you are yet designing your home, why don't you make certain it fits the needs of everyone who will potentially live in it from toddlers to octogenarians?" Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. It is a plain fact that 90% of all US homes have to be retrofit to become livable space for the elderly. So, you are not alone if you are renovating now to do so! According to Senior Living, 90 percent of seniors over age 65 want to live at home rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility. A typical assisted living home will cost you between $3,000-$7,000+ PER MONTH, depending upon the services you require and the quality of the facility. Read this 2020 article about their fees which will only increase in years to come: https://www.retirementliving.com/5-benefits-of-aging-in-place
Given the plethora of grocery delivery services in North Carolina, there is no viable reason you are unable stay in your own home, prepare food the way you like it, and remain independent. The same goes for home health care services; even the smallest city has three or more options for seniors that cover all levels of assistance, from bathing to taking you out to play bingo. In Wake County, there is "Triangle Mobile Dentistry" which provides personalized dental care: exams, cleaning and extractions at your home address, "Home Health Health Haircuts" which is self-explanatory; "Doctors Making House Calls" which sends board certified primary care clinicians to your home; there is even "Chefs for Seniors" which specializes in making fresh, homemade meals in your kitchen. "Adaptive Vans" sells, rents and services wheel-chair accessible vans and there are numerous private transportation services that offer transportation per trip or per mile; all have wheelchair- accessible vehicles! With an investment in your current home, you could remain there, but your home will require that you remodel/ retrofit or it will not be safe. This will still cost you far less, however, than moving into a retirement village where you will have to downsize PLUS lose considerable privacy and have to follow a group schedule for cafeteria meals and activities. Most importantly, there is a proven correlation between those who retain memory by remaining in their own home and those developing Alzheimer's after they were moved into a seniors-only home, because they lost their frame of reference.
How do your start this process? By clearing space; that means giving away a lifetime of "stuff" you have acquired that is hindering your mobility and your future happiness. PURGE. PURGE. PURGE. Call your adult children and tell them, " It is time to rent a U-haul truck and pick up the furniture you want now, so I can create the open space living that allows me to remain in my own home." Face the fact that your cherished collectibles may not mean as much to your heirs as they do to you..."hallmarks of a properly furnished, middle-class home have changed over the years," as this NY Times article states without apology: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/your-money/aging-parents-with-lots-of-stuff-and-children-who-dont-want-it.html
Don't postpone the inevitable. It's unfair to relocate the "extra stuff" to an attic, garage or enclosed patio, or a storage locker where it has to be purged by your family members at some later date. It's ultimately YOUR responsibility to give YOUR things to those that have expressed an interest in them. The raw truth: If your adult children do not want to take the time to rent a truck and get these things now to make your life easier, they will not take or have the time to get them later. If the latter happens, simply look up a maid service and hire them to box up items for pickup by Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or a local thrift store for a useful tax write off. Start by removing things like that sharp-edged, glass-covered coffee table, so you can buy a large, tufted ottoman that will not crack, splinter and hurt you when you fall down on it. Remove 50% of your furniture, tables that wobble, baskets that take up floor space, until you can do a 360 degree turn in every room, from every doorway, without bumping into a single thing. Make a former guest room into a spacious dressing room with clothing racks out in the open, accessible and easy to reach even from a wheelchair. It's a proven fact that YOUR happiness level will increase when clutter decreases. Twenty years my senior, I am so very thankful my own parents have come to this realization and started to divest themselves of "stuff" and pare down before it becomes absolutely necessary for them to do so due to deteriorating health.
Next, it's time to remove all carpeting and have quality wood flooring installed throughout your home, such as the durable bamboo shown above, so regardless of whether you need a cane, scooter or a walker on wheels and tennis balls in the future, you can move with ease from room to room. The raw truth: carpet soaks up body fluids and soon becomes unsightly and unsanitary, creating a funky odor that permeates the whole home. No amount of disinfectant or steam cleaning gets it out. Carpet can also become a tripping hazard when you have foot drop. Remove the carpet and you now have a floor that is easy for anyone to mop up. The fibers of carpeting also tend to collect dirt and dust daily which can lead to allergies or respiratory infections.
The primary reason adult children are forced to select an assisted living home for their parents is due to safety and security. So deal with these two issues immediately, not after an accident has happened. You can buy a CANARY https://canary.is/online for $200 and position it in your main living quarters to obtain a sweeping, panoramic view of your living space. If you are prone to forgetting to turn your phone off after the last call [making family members dash over in the car to find out if you are lying on the floor incapacitated] a CANARY is the solution. It has a built in camera and speaker, so your family members can tune in and view you when your phone gives them a busy signal for 2+ hours. The CANARY eliminates panic and stress about mom and/or dad living alone
Our nuts and bolts, uber frank, two-hour assessment covers every area of your home--from exterior maintenance, to the overall floor plan, hallways, entry way, thresholds, interior doors, windows, garage egress, faucets, kitchen and laundry, bathroom, stairways, ramps, storage access, and security. With a background as a military police officer, Chuck will also find your home's security weaknesses and tell you how to solve them; Rose cared for a family member with multiple sclerosis for 29 years and dealt with decreasing mobility issues and home modifications throughout; she understands what you are going through and why changes are needed. Chuck's focus is on CARPENTRY upgrades, such as widening of doorways, installation of wood flooring/removal of carpet, kitchen and bathroom counter modifications so you can remain independent. Recommendations will be given for all other work to be done by licensed plumbers and electricians.
[If you watch what has been done in this "Tiny Home" in Canada called a MedCottage, you will see a few examples of what can be done; we found it on Youtube under home designs for the elderly. From the entrance ramp into the home to the location of furniture, it has been set up with a "safety first" mindset.]
When the assessment is done, you will be given an exhaustive report and know exactly what has to be done and in what order to make your home safe for your Golden Years.
The Carpenter Craftsman, LLC: Quality Home Improvement
Mailing Address: 1905 Green Ford Lane, Apex, North Carolina 27502 The Carpenter Craftsman is a Highly-Rated, Veteran-led Business. Website created by the East Coast Marketing Lady