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Right Time to Explore Home Remodeling Features for Seniors

by Mike Dodd, Home Remodeling Expert
November 21, 2013

Question: My parents live far away from me. They are recently retired and relatively healthy and active. At what point, should I look into aging in place home features for them?

Answer: It is never too soon to begin the investigation process with respect to features in the home that will allow for greater accessibility and ease of use.  In a perfect world, everyone would look at their health and their homes in a proactive way. Preventative health measures like exercise and good dietary habits will certainly prolong and enhance life, but the same is true for a dwelling. Energy efficiency and accessibility are just two areas that many people are rightfully concerned about.  In the final analysis, a proactive approach to safe-proofing a house is both smart and prudent.

Here's the reality of the world in which we live, however. Just like our personal health, few people ever entertain thoughts about modifying their homes for future adaptations. Health care and home modifications go hand in hand in that they are reactionary in nature. Someone typically goes to see the doctor when they are feeling poorly while avoiding regular check-ups. Modifications to the home are typically considered after a health event that requires a consideration to either leave the home or modify it to meet very specific needs. Either way, decisions are forced upon individuals and families that are generally not very pleasant.

My advice would be to consider the aspects of the house right now, regardless of the health or activity level of the inhabitants. Aging in place features are merely an extension of universal design principles that are intended to render a home more accessible and easier to function in, no matter the age or ability of who might occupy it. It's never too soon to walk through the home and assess its ability to be "user friendly".

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Mike Dodd is the founder and President of Lifewise Renovations, that combines home remodeling project management with the expertise of health care professionals, to make it possible live safely and comfortably at home regardless of age or physical ability. As a member of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Mike holds the Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS) designation.

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