Remodel for aging in place

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ralph124cf
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Remodel for aging in place

Post by ralph124cf » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:28 am

We are approaching age 70, and our three story house is getting to be a pain in the knee.

We would like to remain in the house for another 5-10 years, and we are considering what could be done to make the place more comfortable as we age.

We do already have lots of grab bars (all towel racks have been changed out to 1.25" stainless grab bars), and some of the toilets are a higher model.

I will consider changing the door knobs for levers, but we do not have any grip problems yet.

A stair lift is a consideration, but that will not work for the narrow basement steps.

We would not be willing to stay in the house if a wheelchair is needed for more than a couple of months.

More ideas?

Thanks,

Ralph

RickBoglehead
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:45 am

The key is to make changes before you need them.

A local senior association may provide free home assessments. We used one to put leverage on my FIL to make changes to his home that he didn't want to make.

You hit on one modification that many seniors, including my FIL, mess up - grab bars. A grab bar with a towel handing on it is not a grab bar. When the senior reaches out to grab the bar, and the towel pulls free, they fall. When you need a grab bar, it can have nothing on it.

Like many things, there are forums/sites that specialize in this, here are two:

https://blog.caregiverhomes.com/50homemodificationtips

https://www.nahb.org/en/learn/designati ... klist.aspx
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

bob60014
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by bob60014 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:20 am

At 64 and good health, thinking ahead and also for now we are doing a total remodel of the main bathroom. The biggest part here is eliminating the bathtub that we never use and installing a walkin shower, enlarging the washing space. This will modernize it for today and allow for accessibility, making it a roll in/handicap accessible later. Luckily our room can support this.

RadAudit
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by RadAudit » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:59 am

Adjust the height of the toilets
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The Calvary isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

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lthenderson
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by lthenderson » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:07 am

They make really nice and reasonably cost elevator kits these days. They attach to the outside of your existing house so there is no need to change the footprint to accommodate them. They only need to cut an access doorway in the outside wall into each floor that you want service to. My great aunt and uncle put one in their three story house in California and were able to live in their house until their deaths.

flyingaway
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by flyingaway » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:13 am

lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:07 am
They make really nice and reasonably cost elevator kits these days. They attach to the outside of your existing house so there is no need to change the footprint to accommodate them. They only need to cut an access doorway in the outside wall into each floor that you want service to. My great aunt and uncle put one in their three story house in California and were able to live in their house until their deaths.
I heard that an elevator may cost as much as $100,000.

Rupert
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Rupert » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:14 am

Ideally, you need to be able to live entirely on one floor. Bare minimum, you need a bedroom, a full bathroom, the kitchen, and the living room on the same floor. You need to be able to navigate that space easily using a walker or wheelchair, and you need to be able to access that space without climbing stairs, including outdoor stairs. Is there room outside for a ramp if necessary? Are your door openings wide enough to accommodate a walker? If this is not possible in your current home, consider selling it and downsizing to a more accessible home. (Note the prior poster's recommendation for an elevator would allow you to continue living on multiple floors, but not every home will accommodate an elevator, even the exterior ones).

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lthenderson
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by lthenderson » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:24 am

flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:13 am
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:07 am
They make really nice and reasonably cost elevator kits these days. They attach to the outside of your existing house so there is no need to change the footprint to accommodate them. They only need to cut an access doorway in the outside wall into each floor that you want service to. My great aunt and uncle put one in their three story house in California and were able to live in their house until their deaths.
I heard that an elevator may cost as much as $100,000.
First company that I turned up with a quick google search advertises one for $12,536. As I said before, they are quite reasonable now as many would lose that much or more just in closing fees from selling and buying another house..

https://www.ameriglide.com/item/amerigl ... vator.html

flyingaway
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by flyingaway » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:34 am

lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:24 am
flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:13 am
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:07 am
They make really nice and reasonably cost elevator kits these days. They attach to the outside of your existing house so there is no need to change the footprint to accommodate them. They only need to cut an access doorway in the outside wall into each floor that you want service to. My great aunt and uncle put one in their three story house in California and were able to live in their house until their deaths.
I heard that an elevator may cost as much as $100,000.
First company that I turned up with a quick google search advertises one for $12,536. As I said before, they are quite reasonable now as many would lose that much or more just in closing fees from selling and buying another house..

https://www.ameriglide.com/item/amerigl ... vator.html
That is interesting. I checked their indoor elevator and found the price is similar.

My quota is from a friend of mine who installed an elevator in a high-end house, from basement to the 2nd floor, costed close to $100,000. The house is worth about $600,000 in a low cost area.

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lthenderson
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by lthenderson » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:40 am

flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:34 am
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:24 am
flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:13 am
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:07 am
They make really nice and reasonably cost elevator kits these days. They attach to the outside of your existing house so there is no need to change the footprint to accommodate them. They only need to cut an access doorway in the outside wall into each floor that you want service to. My great aunt and uncle put one in their three story house in California and were able to live in their house until their deaths.
I heard that an elevator may cost as much as $100,000.
First company that I turned up with a quick google search advertises one for $12,536. As I said before, they are quite reasonable now as many would lose that much or more just in closing fees from selling and buying another house..

https://www.ameriglide.com/item/amerigl ... vator.html
That is interesting. I checked their indoor elevator and found the price is similar.

My quota is from a friend of mine who installed an elevator in a high-end house, from basement to the 2nd floor, costed close to $100,000. The house is worth about $600,000 in a low cost area.
I have no doubt that there are companies that charge that much and are probably justified due to all the bells and whistles that could be installed. I would think for an interior install where floor prints have to be modified and lots of things fixed after the installation, that 100,000 would be a good bargain. But for a functional exterior one, one doesn't have to pay nearly that much.

I'm guessing for an interior one from the company I linked for the same price would only be from a ground floor up to a balcony. I doubt they could do that for the same price if it involved punching holes and reframing ceilings between floors.

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Watty
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Watty » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:18 am

One thing to add is a combination lockbox with your house key in it so that if you need to have someone come over to check on something you can just give them the combination over the phone to allow them to get into the house. I have had one of these on my house since we had grade school kids and it came in handy since the kids did not need to carry a house key with them. I have also accidentally locked myself out of the house and used it to get in.

Here is the one I have.
https://www.amazon.com/Kidde-AccessPoin ... dpSrc=srch
ralph124cf wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:28 am
....our three story house is getting to be a pain in the knee.
Stairs are a major source of injuries for people of all ages so they may be more of a problem than an just an inconvenience.

You can research how to make your stairs safer and do things like installing "power grip" handrails, better lighting, and replacing carpeting or wood steps with more slip resistant features.

It is just anecdotal but when my Dad was in his 60's he fell down the basement steps in his house and had to take an ambulance to the hospital, fortunately he was just badly banged up. My wife had a uncle that was in his 70's that fell down the basement stairs when he was in the house alone and died. These were both in one level ranch houses with basements.

With a three story house you might want to move sooner rather than later.

One thing to keep in mind is that most housing markets are pretty strong now so it is usually quick and easy to sell a house. In a bad housing market it can take a long time to sell a house without discounting it to a distressed sale price. When you eventually want to move it could take a long time to sell the house which could be a problem if you need the home equity from this house to buy your next place.
Last edited by Watty on Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:26 am

"Watty" has given good advice.

Look at R/E listings in your area, or area of choice for retirement. Go to "open houses". Visit homes for sale that might meet your "aging in place criteria". True, you can remodel most any home to some degree but looking at other homes might widen your options.

As for an elevator. It can run from 30k to 100k or more depending on the difficulty of install, type of elevator, options, etc.

I have remodeled and retrofitted homes for ADA compliance and it is often far more expensive and extensive than the owners first thought.

I also have a 3 story home and it is a getting to be a pain in the "knee", spine, etc, to get up and down as well. As I move further into retirement, moving to an "aging in place" home will be a priority.
j

mouses
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by mouses » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:49 am

I would vote for an elevator as well, except I would worry about getting stuck in one in a power failure. I wonder if there is some way to handle that.

I have seen pictures of really gorgeous indoor elevators with fronts that look like closet doors. I guess those are the $100,000 ones.

Do you really need access to your basement?

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CABob
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by CABob » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:22 am

Watty wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:18 am
One thing to add is a combination lockbox with your house key in it so that if you need to have someone come over to check on something you can just give them the combination over the phone to allow them to get into the house.
An alternate to this would be a keyless remote for a garage door if that works with your house like this one..
Bob

InMyDreams
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by InMyDreams » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:40 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:26 am
... moving to an "aging in place" home will be a priority.
This.
As hard as it is to move from a place you know and have feelings for, it gets even harder later. The body will be that much older (and less able to do the work the move requires), and once in the new place, there's still the problem of learning the area (a new city?) and making new friends - creating a network.

I watched my grandmother become isolated in her home (she and her friends drove less and less, and never at night), and eventually need to move out of it anyway.

My parents moved to be near me, but the first year was an emotional struggle. And they didn't develop the kind of network that they would have had at a younger age.

Anyway - what's in the basement that you need access to? If it's the washer/dryer, can they be moved upstairs? I have a friend who has done that in two different homes that she has lived in.

kaudrey
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by kaudrey » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:58 am

I second the question posed earlier - can you live on one floor? My parents are 80 and when they built the house they live in now (23 years ago), they built it so that if needed, they would never need to go upstairs. Their master bedroom and bath are on the main floor with the kitchen, living room and den. Although the study is upstairs, and my father uses it, he doesn't have to if he doesn't want (and, I think my mother rarely goes upstairs anymore, as she has mobility issues).

adamthesmythe
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:30 pm

Hate to say it- but- living in a three-story house with essential appliances in the basement- is going to be next to impossible if you cannot negotiate stairs.

I have seen chair lifts installed in houses between the ground and the second floor. (These were in houses that I looked at for purchase, and passed on, in part because of the need to undo the chair lifts, but that's another story). I have never seen chair lifts to a basement. Getting to the basement would be particularly hazardous when carrying a basket of laundry.

I think money would be better spent on a newish single-floor condo.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:39 pm

Laundry in the basement can be especially hard and unsafe due to having to carry a laundry basket down and up. Even if it is not heavy, it is an impediment to balance, vision, footwork.

Is an elevator in a house a negative or a positive on a sale of the house? I would expect it might be a negative unless the sale is to older people.

MathWizard
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by MathWizard » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:48 pm

We have a main floor laundry, and I don't think I'd ever go back to one in the basement.

We helped install a main floor laundry for my MIL after she had fallen down the basement stairs.
A stackable unit may not be large, but would suffice for 2 people. We had a reasonable sized set
with a front loader washing machine.

Golf maniac
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Golf maniac » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:39 pm

We are building our retirement home and it will be one story with walk in shower. One thing people sometimes forget is flooring. While tile may be nice it is really hard and can easily break bones in a fall especially as we age. It can also be slick and cause slips and falls in baths. Vinyl, while not very popular, is pretty good for kitchens and baths as far as softness and slip resistant. Vinyl planks now look like wood or tile but is much softer.

Be careful of rugs that can cause falls and also can slip on floors. Also, the fewer transitions you have from floor type to floor type the better as transitions from one floor typ to another can cause elderly to trip. Unfortunately we tend to shuffle our feet more as we age. So don’t have tile to wood to carpet all over the house.

Dottie57
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:50 pm

bob60014 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:20 am
At 64 and good health, thinking ahead and also for now we are doing a total remodel of the main bathroom. The biggest part here is eliminating the bathtub that we never use and installing a walkin shower, enlarging the washing space. This will modernize it for today and allow for accessibility, making it a roll in/handicap accessible later. Luckily our room can support this.
At 61, I am thinking of doing the same. Shower only, grab bars, taller toilet and maybe heated floor.

finite_difference
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by finite_difference » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:02 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:34 am
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:24 am
flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:13 am
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:07 am
They make really nice and reasonably cost elevator kits these days. They attach to the outside of your existing house so there is no need to change the footprint to accommodate them. They only need to cut an access doorway in the outside wall into each floor that you want service to. My great aunt and uncle put one in their three story house in California and were able to live in their house until their deaths.
I heard that an elevator may cost as much as $100,000.
First company that I turned up with a quick google search advertises one for $12,536. As I said before, they are quite reasonable now as many would lose that much or more just in closing fees from selling and buying another house..

https://www.ameriglide.com/item/amerigl ... vator.html
That is interesting. I checked their indoor elevator and found the price is similar.

My quota is from a friend of mine who installed an elevator in a high-end house, from basement to the 2nd floor, costed close to $100,000. The house is worth about $600,000 in a low cost area.
I want an elevator in my house now.

Do I have to wait until I am a senior citizen? ;)
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

MJS
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by MJS » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:31 pm

RadAudit wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:59 am
Adjust the height of the toilets
Exactly! If either of you is under 63" / 1.6m, avoid those potentially hazardous ADA height toilets. Squatty potties are beneficial to aging digestive systems, and much safer.

nicad2000
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by nicad2000 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:35 pm

finite_difference wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:02 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:34 am
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:24 am
flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:13 am
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:07 am
They make really nice and reasonably cost elevator kits these days. They attach to the outside of your existing house so there is no need to change the footprint to accommodate them. They only need to cut an access doorway in the outside wall into each floor that you want service to. My great aunt and uncle put one in their three story house in California and were able to live in their house until their deaths.
I heard that an elevator may cost as much as $100,000.
First company that I turned up with a quick google search advertises one for $12,536. As I said before, they are quite reasonable now as many would lose that much or more just in closing fees from selling and buying another house..

https://www.ameriglide.com/item/amerigl ... vator.html
That is interesting. I checked their indoor elevator and found the price is similar.

My quota is from a friend of mine who installed an elevator in a high-end house, from basement to the 2nd floor, costed close to $100,000. The house is worth about $600,000 in a low cost area.
I want an elevator in my house now.

Do I have to wait until I am a senior citizen? ;)
Nero Wolfe would say “definitely not”.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:29 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:39 pm
Is an elevator in a house a negative or a positive on a sale of the house? I would expect it might be a negative unless the sale is to older people.
It is likely to be difficult to install an elevator into an existing house in a way that does not involve aesthetic or functional compromises.

Even at my post-retirement age, I consider it too damned slow to wait for an elevator to go one floor. So I think the number of buyers that would consider an add-on elevator an attraction is probably pretty small.

On the other hand, if you age-in-place successfully enough resale value will not be your problem.

>Nero Wolfe would say “definitely not”

Yes but Nero had what, four stories up to the orchids?

stan1
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by stan1 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:36 pm

I wouldn't spend money on a lot of elder-friendly changes until there was a higher likelihood of needing them. You won't get this investment back when you sell the house. If the house starts to look institutionalized due to a lot of grab bars, ADA toilets, widened doors, and vinyl it will be harder to sell (or you'll have to pay again to take out what you've put in).

HereToLearn
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by HereToLearn » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:39 pm

stan1 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:36 pm
I wouldn't spend money on a lot of elder-friendly changes until there was a higher likelihood of needing them. You won't get this investment back when you sell the house. If the house starts to look institutionalized due to a lot of grab bars, ADA toilets, widened doors, and vinyl it will be harder to sell (or you'll have to pay again to take out what you've put in).
Money spent to allow one to age in place is not spent with resale in mind, but with the hope of allowing one to safely age in own home. A barrier-free shower and stackable washer/dryer unit can be installed for the price of two months in assisted living.

stan1
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by stan1 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:58 pm

HereToLearn wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:39 pm
stan1 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:36 pm
I wouldn't spend money on a lot of elder-friendly changes until there was a higher likelihood of needing them. You won't get this investment back when you sell the house. If the house starts to look institutionalized due to a lot of grab bars, ADA toilets, widened doors, and vinyl it will be harder to sell (or you'll have to pay again to take out what you've put in).
Money spent to allow one to age in place is not spent with resale in mind, but with the hope of allowing one to safely age in own home. A barrier-free shower and stackable washer/dryer unit can be installed for the price of two months in assisted living.
We may disagree but I would not make aging specific changes many years or decades ahead of needing them. Rather than modifying a large multi-story family home I'd be looking to move into a smaller single story home if I wanted to stay independent longer. Moving a laundry from a basement to the main floor or second floor is something most buyers will appreciate. In OP's case they plan on selling the home in 5-10 years so resale and appeal to other buyers should be a consideration. A chairlift is an example of something I would not put into a house until it was needed.

HereToLearn
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by HereToLearn » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:28 pm

stan1 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:58 pm
HereToLearn wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:39 pm
stan1 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:36 pm
I wouldn't spend money on a lot of elder-friendly changes until there was a higher likelihood of needing them. You won't get this investment back when you sell the house. If the house starts to look institutionalized due to a lot of grab bars, ADA toilets, widened doors, and vinyl it will be harder to sell (or you'll have to pay again to take out what you've put in).
Money spent to allow one to age in place is not spent with resale in mind, but with the hope of allowing one to safely age in own home. A barrier-free shower and stackable washer/dryer unit can be installed for the price of two months in assisted living.
We may disagree but I would not make aging specific changes many years or decades ahead of needing them. Rather than modifying a large multi-story family home I'd be looking to move into a smaller single story home if I wanted to stay independent longer. Moving a laundry from a basement to the main floor or second floor is something most buyers will appreciate. In OP's case they plan on selling the home in 5-10 years so resale and appeal to other buyers should be a consideration. A chairlift is an example of something I would not put into a house until it was needed.
Sorry, I misunderstood! I agree completely that there is no need to modify the house years in advance of need. Just be out in front of the need before it is a problem (trip/fall hazard).

My mother is in a ranch, so she thought she could live there forever in existing conditions. As she has become more frail, we have had to keep adding things to assist her.

It is impossible to anticipate individual needs until they arise.

Rupert
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Rupert » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:53 am

Well, universal design advocates would build all houses with age-in-place principles in mind. If you think about it, many of the modifications for the aged are also beneficial to small children and certainly the disabled. Grab bars don't have to be ugly. The ones in my bathroom look like, and are presently used as, towel racks. They match the design of my other bathroom fixtures. Curbless showers and master bathrooms without bathtubs are actually de rigeur. It's becoming harder to find traditional toilets anymore, as "comfort-height" toilets have become the norm. Even at Lowes and Home Depot, 90% of the toilets on display these days are comfort height. Modifying a house to age-in-place doesn't have to mean turning your house into a nursing home.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:07 am

We are nearly 60 in a house with an acre of lawn, the bedrooms and full bathrooms upstairs, and the laundry in the basement. It was and still is a perfect house and a perfect neighborhood for raising kids, which we are no longer doing. For now, it keeps us fit. Our plan is to move to someplace smaller and on one level before any of that becomes a problem. That way we will be forced to do at least one major clean out before our kids have to do it for us. We'll wait probably 5-10 years to see if either kid settles in an area of the country where we might like to live.

Some people get attached to land and buildings that they or their families have owned for years. We are not those people, and our kids are most definitely not those people.
Last edited by NotWhoYouThink on Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

Beck49
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Beck49 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:22 am

Rupert wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:53 am
Well, universal design advocates would build all houses with age-in-place principles in mind. If you think about it, many of the modifications for the aged are also beneficial to small children and certainly the disabled. Grab bars don't have to be ugly. The ones in my bathroom look like, and are presently used as, towel racks. They match the design of my other bathroom fixtures. Curbless showers and master bathrooms without bathtubs are actually de rigeur. It's becoming harder to find traditional toilets anymore, as "comfort-height" toilets have become the norm. Even at Lowes and Home Depot, 90% of the toilets on display these days are comfort height. Modifying a house to age-in-place doesn't have to mean turning your house into a nursing home.
I agree, "universal design" elements do not look like a nursing home. We are facing some of the same issues as OP and decided to move ahead of the problem getting worse. We are building a new stand alone condo, with everything required on first floor, but extra bedroom on second floor. No step entrance in from garage, 36 inch doors, a few grad bars but also supports in walls for others later, stepless shower, high toilets, etc. This is a set of condo units where most are retired and not worried about resale to young families. There are none. The next buyer will be looking to solve the same problem as we are, and the OP. I for one am not necessarily looking forward to leaving our current house, but it's a realistic solution to a problem that is easier resolved now than waiting for more serious health issues that would add much more urgency to the move.

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dm200
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:39 am

With 20/20 hindsight - when we bought our home 40 years ago, I would have chosen a house where we could have lived (mostly) on the first floor and a house with easier access than the steps up the front porch. The one bathroom and only (3) bedrooms in our house are on the second floor.

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Jazztonight
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Jazztonight » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:10 pm

I'm going to risk introducing a different take on this issue.

When my DW and I moved from a 4-level house in the hills to a totally accessible apartment in a downtown building eight years ago, she thought it would be helpful as we got older (e.g., we could "age in place.")

The first thing I noticed is that the cat started to lose her mobility skills, no longer having to walk up and down stairs to her litter box. Then the same thing started to happen to us as we no longer needed to walk up and down stairs to the car, the laundry room, the TV room, etc.

Personally, I believe that preparing for senior living is not just about installing grab bars (certainly not a bad idea). We should be doing the exercises and activities that will prepare us for getting on and off the toilet (squats), and getting in and out of chairs and bed (upper and lower body workout routine). Think of this as "advanced planning."

I'm only 71 but have friends my age who won't even park a block away because the walk is too far. I fear for these people when they reach their 80s and beyond.

I'm sure I'll take some heat because of my attitude, but walking up and down stairs is a good thing, not something to be avoided at all costs.

The old advice, "Use it or lose it" is not just a bumper sticker.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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dm200
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:23 pm

Jazztonight wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:10 pm
I'm going to risk introducing a different take on this issue.
When my DW and I moved from a 4-level house in the hills to a totally accessible apartment in a downtown building eight years ago, she thought it would be helpful as we got older (e.g., we could "age in place.")
The first thing I noticed is that the cat started to lose her mobility skills, no longer having to walk up and down stairs to her litter box. Then the same thing started to happen to us as we no longer needed to walk up and down stairs to the car, the laundry room, the TV room, etc.
Personally, I believe that preparing for senior living is not just about installing grab bars (certainly not a bad idea). We should be doing the exercises and activities that will prepare us for getting on and off the toilet (squats), and getting in and out of chairs and bed (upper and lower body workout routine). Think of this as "advanced planning."
I'm only 71 but have friends my age who won't even park a block away because the walk is too far. I fear for these people when they reach their 80s and beyond.
I'm sure I'll take some heat because of my attitude, but walking up and down stairs is a good thing, not something to be avoided at all costs.
The old advice, "Use it or lose it" is not just a bumper sticker.
Yes - I agree 100%.

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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by elisa » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:44 pm

The BH Forum was extremely helpful in responses to my July 8 query about aging in place renovations, specifically adding a tiny first floor bath. After considerable research and discussion with three contractors, I ultimately decided against going forward because the projected costs (3X what I had estimated) the disruption, and aesthetics, outweighed the benefit in my particular situation. I found that predicting the need for modifications in advance of the actual need had too many uncertainties and variables. The downside of course is that when a situation of disability or ill health arises, options for renovation may not be feasible.

Akin to a previous comment, I also considered three former neighbors who lived well into their 80s or 90s with only the second story bath.

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dm200
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:58 pm

elisa wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:44 pm
The BH Forum was extremely helpful in responses to my July 8 query about aging in place renovations, specifically adding a tiny first floor bath. After considerable research and discussion with three contractors, I ultimately decided against going forward because the projected costs (3X what I had estimated) the disruption, and aesthetics, outweighed the benefit in my particular situation. I found that predicting the need for modifications in advance of the actual need had too many uncertainties and variables. The downside of course is that when a situation of disability or ill health arises, options for renovation may not be feasible.
Akin to a previous comment, I also considered three former neighbors who lived well into their 80s or 90s with only the second story bath.
My uncle and his wife lived for 55-60 years in a farmhouse that had the bedrooms on the second floor and the only bathroom on the first floor. [House built in the 1830s or 1840s - so bathroom(s) added long after house was designed/built]. Even as they aged into their 80's, they declined to move their bedroom to a large parlor on the first floor - which would have still had lots of other space on that floor. She died at about age 95 (while still in the house) and right after her death - he moved to an assisted living facility where he lived until almost 100.

I suspect that their going up and down the stairs in their older years may have contributed to their long lives.

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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Lynette » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:14 pm

I could live on one floor in my house if necessary by moving the laundry to the first floor. For now it is in the basement and I sleep upstairs. I completely agree with those who have said to make changes when required. My house is in a safe neighborhood, conveniently located close to my health club, church, major hospital etc. I have no intention of moving unless absolutely necessary. I'm fortunate to be fairly healthy as I near 75. I have been redoing my garden that has involved a lot of manual work. I can feel my shoulder and arm muscles expanding. Yesterday I was buying more soil at Home Depot to level my lawn and I saw an elderly lady with two bags of mulch. They are heavy. She told me she is 84, does her own gardening and moves the mulch by placing it onto a dolly. So I am not making any further modifications to my house until required.

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dm200
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:16 pm

We often hear advice to help our elderly neighbors do things like shovel snow, etc. Often, I see the "elderly" but healthy folks doing more than the younger neighbors.

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dm200
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:24 pm

Depending on the house details and other factors, adding a one room addition to some houses can make financial and lifestyle sense. In our case, though, that would probably not make financial sense.

My wife's "mobility" issues are likely to be the most challenging. I believe they are probably due to her being obese - but she tells me I am an insensitive idiot.

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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by brandy » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:39 pm

Watty wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:18 am
One thing to add is a combination lockbox with your house key in it so that if you need to have someone come over to check on something you can just give them the combination over the phone to allow them to get into the house. I have had one of these on my house since we had grade school kids and it came in handy since the kids did not need to carry a house key with them. I have also accidentally locked myself out of the house and used it to get in.
Here is the one I have.
https://www.amazon.com/Kidde-AccessPoin ... dpSrc=srch
I have had a construction lock box on my house for several years, and thanks to a suggestion here, I contacted my local fire department. They now have the code for that box, so if they or the cops need to get in for a welfare check, they have a key to use, instead of breaking in. This is done through the fire department.

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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by brandy » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:19 pm

nicad2000 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:35 pm
I want an elevator in my house now.
Do I have to wait until I am a senior citizen? ;) [/quote]
nicad2000 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:35 pm
Nero Wolfe would say “definitely not”.
HA! a Nero Wolfe fan! I was looking at my stack of books this morning thinking I might start on them again. It's been years. HE had a real reason (a couple of them) for HIS elevator: his weight and his orchids!

GmanJeff
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by GmanJeff » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:00 am

It may be worth considering that some features which may be thought of as appropriate only for the frail elderly are also useful in the event an able-bodied individual becomes temporarily disabled, such as after an accident or knee or hip replacement surgery. The availability of an elevator, for example, means that someone on crutches need not deal with stairs. A stepless entry into a shower is similarly helpful for someone who cannot easily cross the typical raised entry. Just because those features are in a home doesn't mean they need to be used all the time, but they are invaluable when they are needed on no notice.

Beck49
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by Beck49 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:48 am

These posts demonstrate how this can be a difficult decision, though not unlike some of the other financial decisions we have to make. Assuming someone would prefer to age in place in the current home, there are at least two decision errors to consider when deciding to move or not move. You move, but it turns out that your health never deteriorated as feared, and you could have stayed in your home after all. Or, you don't move, your health does deteriorate, and you are forced move under difficult circumstances. Which is more likely and which would cause the greatest regret? How you value these two factors determining the cost of being wrong will vary by individuals. However, I think we also need to be careful to avoid confirmation bias with examples of individuals who may lived long lives with multiple daily trips up stairs or other individuals who stayed in their house too long with considerable stress for themselves and their caregivers. This of course makes mitigation strategies like an elevator seem more appealing.

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dm200
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Re: Remodel for aging in place

Post by dm200 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:21 am

In some circumstances and in some areas, larger homes can be arranged for someone else to live in the home. That other person there can provide an able bodied person to be in the house in case of an emergency. There would be no caretaker role or responsibility. Years ago, a neighbor of ours had this arrangement.

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