Most of the DIYers I speak with who are trying their hand at creating an aging-in-place home are facing the same challenges and asking the same questions as everyone else. Renovating an aging-in-place home isn’t easy, especially with all of the added safety considerations needed for your parent to live at home longer.
In this article, I’ve compiled a few of the more recent questions I’ve received from DIYers working through an aging-in-place renovation. These questions cover the most frequently asked questions I receive and should help you think through your own renovation.
The FAQs of Aging-in-Place Remodeling
I’m renovating my parent’s home so they can age in place. I know we need a non-slip floor but I’m not sure which material is best. Which non-slip flooring material do you recommend?
Great question. You’re correct that a non-slip floor is the only safe choice for an aging-in-place home. There are a few options that work well, but I’m a big fan of vinyl. Vinyl floors don’t get as slippery as other floors when water spills.
Beyond it being safer, vinyl is also waterproof, affordable, and easy-to-install. As a DIYer, you can install a vinyl floor pretty quickly, even without flooring experience.
I have an entire article dedicated to the best non-slip flooring for aging in place. You can read the article, ‘How to Find Flooring That’s Safe, Inexpensive and Easy to Install for Aging in Place’ for more tips on non-slip floors for your parent’s home.
My mom’s balance has become an issue in the last few years. My biggest concern is her ability to stay safe while getting around the bathroom. How do I create a safe master bath for her?
You’re right to focus on bathroom safety in the aging-in-place home. More slips and falls happen in the bathroom than any other room in the home, by far. This is especially true of older adults as they develop issues with mobility and balance. The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to create a safe aging-in-place master bathroom, and you can do most of the upgrades yourself.
I cover the basics of DIY aging-in-place bathroom safety renovations in several of my articles. Use these as resources as you plan to upgrade the master bathroom.
Shower and Tub – ‘Converting a Tub to a Zero-Threshold Shower’
Shower Faucets – ‘5 of the Best Shower Faucet Handles for Aging in Place’
Sink Faucets – ‘10 of the Best Delta Bathroom Faucets for Aging in Place’
Safety Accessories – ‘Essential Safety Accessories for the Aging-in-Place Bathroom’
My dad has arthritis and it’s becoming more difficult for him to open doors and cabinets, and turn on the kitchen faucet. What home updates can I make to alleviate his pain.
There’s a lot you can do to make your parent more comfortable if they’re suffering from arthritis. First, do away with doorknobs and install door handles instead. Lever handles don’t require the grip strength that doorknobs do, so opening and closing doors won’t be as painful.
I cover this topic extensively in my article, ‘Best Door Levers for Adults with Arthritis.’ For tips on installing lever door handles, you can also check out my article, ‘How to Install Easy-to-Grip Handles and Pulls for Aging in Place.’
I also recommend touchless technology wherever possible in my aging-in-place homes. Especially for arthritis, kitchen faucets that turn on by placing your hands under the spout is the way to go. You can learn more about touchless faucets in my article, ‘5 of the Best Touchless Kitchen Faucets for Aging in Place.’
We’re renovating my aunt’s home to help her age in place. Her eyesight isn’t the best. How can we make the house safer for her, especially at night?
Light gives us so much opportunity to boost the safety of the aging-in-place home. Strategically placed recessed lights, task lights, strip lights and outdoor lights make a world of difference.
Here are a few of my lighting resources to get you started.
Strip Lights. Strip lighting works well under kitchen cabinets to brighten the countertop. This makes meal prep like cutting up vegetables much safer. My article, ‘Where and How to Install the Right Lighting Strips for Aging in Place’ will answer all of your strip light questions.
Task and Ambient Lights. Before you start adding lights in each room, you need to understand the difference between task and ambient light and which goes where. I break down the best types of light to install throughout the aging-in-place home in my article, ‘The Best Task Lights for Aging in Place.’
Recessed Lights. Recessed lights can be both task and ambient light depending on what you’re trying to achieve. They also require some additional installation know-how. Read through my recessed lighting overview before getting started: ‘How to Install Recessed Lighting for Aging in Place.’
Exterior Lights. Don’t forget about outdoor light when you’re upgrading your aunt’s home. Coming home at night in the dark is dangerous if there’s not enough light to guide the way from the car to the front door. Take a look at my exterior lighting article, ‘The Best Exterior Lighting for Aging in Place’ for tips.
We’re renovating our parent’s kitchen to give them more space to cook. What’s the ideal size and configuration of an aging-in-place kitchen?
This is an excellent question! Older adults can’t cook safely if they’re jammed into a small kitchen. But, there is such a thing as too big – and layout is critical.
When you start designing the kitchen, keep two things in mind. First, the kitchen triangle. The distance between the three major work areas – the refrigerator, sink and oven – make up the triangle. If the triangle is too big or too small, the kitchen isn’t safe for an older adult.
Second, the requirements set by The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. The ADA has established criteria to make the aging-in-place kitchen as safe as possible for people with mobility issues. This includes the distance between base cabinets in a pass-through kitchen and the minimum width of the countertop.
I’ve put together a comprehensive article that outlines everything related to the kitchen triangle and ADA kitchen guidelines so you can create the safest kitchen possible for your parent. It’s all covered in, ‘Configuring the Kitchen Triangle: Relocating Appliances Safely for Aging in Place.’
If you have additional questions or need more guidance as you plan your aging-in-place home renovations, use the comments section below. Keep your questions coming – I’m always here to help.
Good luck with your next aging-in-place home project!