Staying Put

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Perhaps this scenario applies to you or to someone you know:

You like your home and your neighborhood but recently your house hasn’t seemed to work for you.

Why not? Is it because you or a family member now use a cane, walker or wheelchair and there is not enough room in the kitchen or bath to maneuver? Is it because it is difficult to get into the house from the outside? Or is it because you no longer want or have the strength to climb a flight of stairs to go to the second floor bedroom? If you really want to stay in your house, you may need to make some changes.

Remodeling can be complex and expensive. To remodel a house for someone with limited mobility, poor vision, or hearing problems, you may need to lower kitchen counters or install adjustable-height counters; expand doorways, adapt bathrooms and kitchens; rebuild entryways; or even install stair lifts. Of course, many of these changes will help not only the elderly and disabled but can benefit people of all ages. Done professionally and with attention to good design and functionality, such changes can also become a selling point when the home is being marketed for sale.

Renovating a house requires a plan. Prioritize what is needed now, what may be needed in the future, and what you can afford. Be flexible in your planning and take time to look for products and design ideas. Push a wheelchair or walker through a day’s routine at home to help you identify problem areas. Talk about your daily routine with your family, the builder or remodeler and identify things that need changing.

The expense of remodeling a home to fit your changing needs may seem high at first. However, when compared to the alternatives: daily assisted living costs in a healthcare facility or the expense of hiring an in-home caregiver, remodeling your home to fit your needs may end up being money well spent.

**This is the first in a 3 part series about Staying Put- adapting your home to your changing needs.

Resource: Lifestyle Housing, NCSU Cooperative Extension