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OUR NEW SERVICE: AGE IN PLACE
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A large part of my practice the past few years has been focused on our most mature adults who have come to the decision to stay in their homes for as long as possible. So many of us are fiercely independent. This translates into finding ways to make their homes more comfortable, convenient, and tailored to their individual needs. I’m not talking about adding ramps and grab bars, but rather remodeling in a significant way. These are people in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s who, for the most part, don’t have a problem navigating their homes. In planning for the future, they want to make substantial changes (yet not in all cases) to keep the familiar close and maintain room for returning family members.
Main floor living is the big idea. If there is not a place for a main floor bedroom and bath, we add one. Laundry is important and should be made convenient. Not everyone likes a washer/dryer in a closet so if that’s the case, we add a room for that.
All this remodeling is designed in a conservative way. Saving money is important for everyone, especially anyone on a fixed income.
The issue of resale is viewed differently. There may be some special accommodations for the current homeowner that may not appeal to the new buyer’s lifestyle. The National Home Builder Association states that 82% of all home buyers plan a major remodel in the first year. This tells us that ‘they’ are going to change it anyway! Their home will sell because of location; number of bedrooms/baths; and other reasons. The approach is to make the home the best it can be for the current homeowners. The home will sell anyway!
In this example of our “Age In Place” service, our client is a 71 year old woman who has lived in her narrow ranch home for over 20 years, with no family to visit or help her out, outside of her closest companion, her cute little dog. She is determined to stay in her home for as long as safely possible, and we were there to help her accomplish her goal. Since the current real estate market and resale value isn’t a high priority to her, she asked me to make her compact home work best for her, and her pup. Her biggest risk was her path to the laundry room in the basement. There were lots of starts to navigate, going first into the unheated garage and then yet another flight of stairs. Not all mature home owners have issues with climbing stairs, but she’s already presented a challenge with walking with a cane and desperately needed a solution My first suggestions was to move the laundry upstairs as to skip the basement journey all together and leaving the stairs to be accessed to the basement with the intent of storage. With a small sacrifice, a bit of space in her third room, we were able to compromise on utilizing the TV room closet to find a new home for the laundry appliances. She had a beautiful antique table stored in that third bedroom/TV room that was very important to her and wasn’t able to fit in its ideal location, kitchen/dining room. With a few minor alterations to the kitchen and the removal of a divide wall we were able to accommodate the spacing necessary to fit her table into her kitchen and allows her to use it on a regular basis. A few additional small touches were added to make her life easier and safer, such as a coat closet by the garage door, opening up both closets to her bedroom and added a kitchen pantry. I was very proud of our plans, and pridefully stand behind our commitment to help the elderly stay at home for as long as safely possible.