Our Series On
Advice On Successful Aging
and Home Remodeling Plans Continues
Successful aging in place often means home remodeling plans or universal design house plans when buildig a new home
It is a good idea to plan for successful aging when you build your first home whether you are twenty, thirty, forty, the younger the better. Being prepared for anything is like taking out an insurance policy on your life plan.
Greaves Construction109 N. Burlingame Ave
Temple Terrace, Fl. 33617
Office - 813-985-2739
Fax - 813-914-9506
Interview with Diane Carbo and Jonathan Greaves
Jon, my goal is to help aging individuals make their home their partner as they age. Can you tell me when is a good time to begin to make changes in the home?
Any time is a good time. It will depend on the clients personal needs both current and future. Now is a great time to remodel. Prices are low and jobs are completed much faster.
What are the first steps an individual that wants to remain in their home consider taking to prepare for aging in place?
The first step is to completely assess the client and the client’s home.
You want to identify the needs of the client, physical limitations, range of motion both current and future needs and how the client uses the home. Then you need to look at the condition of the home, from layout to possible structural issues.
The goal is to allow the client to live safely, comfortably and independently in there own home as the progress in their lives.
Can you make some inexpensive recommendations that may be helpful to any aging senior now?
Consider installing offset door hinges; they allow the door to open father against the wall for better access. Lever door knobs allow opening easier. Low profile thresholds, easier entry assess. Grab bars for fall prevention. Better lighting, to increase visibility in rooms. Contrasting paint colors, also to increase visibility. These are just a few suggestions.
Most aging seniors live on a fixed income. Are there any “green” modifications that would help to lower heating, air conditioning costs and water usage in the future?
Green is a term that is misunderstood. Be aware of Green washing products that claim to be green. Green is mostly about energy efficiency, water conversation and reducing the carbon foot print of your home.
Here are a few examples:For energy efficiency: Change light bulbs to compact fluorescent or LED, install high efficiency HVAC system, and install high efficiency windows and doors.
Complete a home energy audit to identify your homes weaknesses For Water conservation: Install low flow or dual flush toilets, low flow faucets and shower heads, install hot water recirculation pump and tank less water heaters. Consider, harvesting your rain for irrigation.
There are many new green products that can be used such as flooring tiles and bamboo, No VOC paints (containing volatile organic compounds), high post consumer content countertops such as glass and concrete to name a few.
What are the most important factors an aging senior should consider when planning to age in place?
A CAPS professional wants to maintain or increase the client’s quality of life. We work to promote independence, comfort, ease of motion and accessibility in the home.
We also help to increase the energy efficiency of the home, at the same time.
Falls are the number one independence robber for aging seniors. The bathroom is where most of these falls occur. What recommendations can you make to make a bathroom safe for the aging senior?
Bathrooms are the biggest area second to entry ways to the home.
The bathroom is where…I recommend non skid floorings, barrier free showers; roll up vanities, increased lighting and grab bars in all needed areas
I always feel that for every problem there is a solution. Does this apply to making changes in the home using Universal design principles?
Remodelers are problem solvers by nature. A CAPS certified Remodeler is motivated by the Universal Design principles to achieve the client’s goal of aging gracefully in their home.
Can you share with me your favorite new product or any new products that would benefit the readers in the future?
I have no real favorite. As awareness increases so does the new products for Universal Design. More manufacturers are stepping up now that they see the market share in CAPS renovations.
But if I had to pick 2 it would be the offset hinge (what a simple concept) and the hot water recirculation pump (minimal wait time for hot water).
Can you make some suggestions to overcome the physical barriers in a home to assure a continued quality of life as they age?
My suggestions would be to: Install entry ramps no more that ½” rise in 12” run, low profile thresholds, ½” max height, widen all doorways or install offset hinges.
Create barrier free bathrooms.
Look at new accessible kitchen designs. There is so much you can do to your kitchen.
Increase interior and exterior lighting of your home.
Can you share stories and photos of utilizing universal design in an established home that assisted your client to remain in their present home environment?
Yes, I have 3 stories that I will share with you. I had a client that made the decision to move her mom into their home. The first floor had a master area that was recreated to accommodate mom.
The bath was recreated to be barrier free, off set hinges were installed on the doors because they could not be widened and the closet was recreated for ease of use.
Aunt Kay 20 years ago I was contracted by my aunt to make her home barrier free because she is confined to a wheel chair.
A two story addition was built with a garage and 2nd story bedroom suite (for a future care taker). The garage was built at the same floor level as the house. The garage door was widened and lever lockset attached along with opener and self closer.
The old garage was remodeled and transformed into her new kitchen. The cabinets had pull down uppers, a roll under sink and cook top.
We installed a raised dishwasher and a lower microwave, as well as side by side refrigerator. All doorways in the house were widened; lever locksets were installed along with extra lighting.
A ramp was built outside the sliding glass door to the pool deck. With the help of her husband, we built a boat davit lift system with control so she could gain access to the pool.
She can drive into her garage and have complete use of her home in her wheelchair.
This next one is not about aging in place but about current needs caused by trauma
Chris C This young man was shot in the neck during a home invasion and paralyzed. We renovated his bedroom hallway and bathroom to be barrier free.
The hall way was already 42” wide. Offset hinges were installed. A 36” pocket door was installed from the bedroom to the bath.
The bath was completely gutted and rebuilt with roll in shower and roll up vanity. Shower valve, switches, shampoo shelf, shower hand held were all install at a lower height. A tilt able mirror above the vanity allows anyone to use it. A second conventional shower head was installed for the same reason.
Can you share stories and photos of utilizing universal design in an established home that assisted successful aging for your client and help them to remain in their present home environment.
Photos of Work Done by Jonathan Greaves
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