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Home Renovation for the Golden Years
By KAYA LATERMAN, New York Times
Home renovations often center on upgrading the kitchen cabinets or selecting a new paint color for the bedroom, but as long as you are at it, a well-thought-out redesign might also include modifications to help you stay in your home as you grow older.
These alterations can start with simple things, like installing a grab bar in the bathroom or replacing doorknobs with lever handles. But if your budget allows for an entire kitchen or bathroom overhaul, it’s best to think about how you physically may change in the years to come and plan accordingly, said Heather Brin, the principal architect of Aging in Place Architecture in Port Jefferson, N.Y.
“These renovations are all about maintaining independence,” Ms. Brin said. “So if you have back pain now, then it’s smart to think about getting pullout shelves to minimize bending.”
Sneaky Ways to Age in Place
Smart and stylish home updates for now and later
by Ronda Kaysen, AARP
During a bathroom update, install a walk-in shower without any lip to step over. (This design feature, a Zillow survey showed, is also highly desirable to buyers, should you later sell your home.) Textured tiles or small mosaics with lots of grout lines can be less slippery than smooth ones.
Add a removable showerhead and a fixed seat so that you can sit while you bathe or even wash a pet or a small child. “It’s great for women who want to shave their legs,” said Heather Brin, the principal architect of Aging in Place Architecture in Port Jefferson, N.Y. “It’s just about making life easier.”
Reinforce the walls with wood before installing tile so that grab bars could be added later if needed. You can also choose towel racks and toilet paper holders that double as grab bars, too.
To create space below a sink that could accommodate a wheelchair, consider a pedestal style, a four-legged console, or even a wall-mounted sink — not a vanity with a low toe kick. Lever faucets will be easier to operate down the road than those with handles (and they're just plain easier to use for anyone with soapy hands).