Expert Awards

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 2.31.30 PM

Home Expert Awards: Preparing for the Elderly or Disabled

When you’re building your dream home, you want it to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t plan for the future, when they might not be as agile as they are now. That gorgeous winding staircase in the entry way might become your worst enemy when you’re in your 70s–or if the worst should happen and you or a loved one end up physically disabled. Planning for these possibilities doesn’t occur to many home owners, but it should.

Our experts have a lot of experience helping homeowners adapt their houses for family members who can’t get around easily any more. They had a lot of suggestions for both how to plan for the future, and how to save money and prioritize when remodeling so you get the most bang for your buck.

Below, we’ve compiled a few of the helpful answers our experts provided. Check back later in the week for a follow-up article!

How do you prepare a home for the disabled or elderly?

What changes should be made first?

What problems might homeowners forget to consider?

How can people building homes from scratch plan for the possibility of adapting their home later?

Are there any changes that aren’t worth the cost?

Most Inspiring

"After recently having my workspace renovated I am aware of the importance of changing the dynamic of a living space to nurture creativity, energy and overall well being, the relevance doesn’t change just because we grow more experienced (and hopefully wiser) over time. Changes that should be identified relate to safety and health but also to having an inspired space people feel good in no matter what age they are." read more

When remodeling a space to improve accessibility, it's easy to forget about how the space feels, but that is a mistake. Kahshanna reminds us that feeling good in your home is just as important as being able to get around in it, and that any remodel should keep things like lighting and inspiration in mind. After all, there's a reason the elderly and disabled prefer living at home to living in a more clinical setting--you don't want to bring the hospital home with you.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Creative

“As Peter Pan said, “I won’t grow up...” … The problem is, Peter did grow up and is growing old, but he still lives in a Peter Pan home with stairs, inaccessible bathrooms, inadequate lighting, and lacking many of the safety features that would help Peter avoid falls or move about with a walker or in a wheelchair. Even today, with all we know, builders still build Peter Pan homes.” read more

We all like to think that we won't get old, but that just isn't realistic. The way that Wayne phrases this basic truth is both amusing and useful--it's not as difficult to face the inevitability of your age if you imagine Peter Pan while doing it! Don't build a Peter Pan home unless you live in Neverland.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Insightful

“What changes should be made first? Lighting…as you age, the lens of your eye yellows & you “see” differently. Brighter, natural spectrum lighting is key. Also, adding accent lighting to help “guide” those who are sight-impaired will also help them with life quality & independence.” read more

DeAnna's comment points out a number of things homeowners often don't think about when they are planning a home. As you get older, your senses will change, and it's important to ensure that your house is built to accommodate that. Lighting is the most important such consideration, because if you can't see, everything else becomes exponentially harder, and you're more likely to fall and hurt yourself as you age.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Articulate

“Most changes to an house for the elderly would be hand railings and try to keep everything on the first floor level. There are funds available usually at local county and department of aging to help with the costly repairs and a lot of times the cost might not be as bad as you mind think. Do it simple is the best way it will work for you and keep the cost down.” read more

The most challenging part of adapting your home for the elderly or disabled is the cost. Many homeowners don't think they can afford the necessary changes. As Doug points out, though, there are funds available for these kinds of remodels, and if you prioritize the right changes, you can at least make your house livable for your disabled loved ones, even if you can't afford to make every change you'd like to.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Informative

“The NAHB has a Certified Aging in Place program that offers Contractors and other trade professionals a training and in turn certification program that enables them to be “experts” on the needs of home adaptation for the elderly or well frankly anyone in need of accommodation regardless of age. I am an advocate of what I call the New Family Home, the idea of multi generations learning to live together. ... Co-housing is the new housing of the future.” read more

Tanya points out a housing trend that people might not realize could affect them. Increasingly, multiple generations of families are living together, which means that homes have to be adapted for all ages, from children to the elderly. Luckily, there are standards in place for building these kinds of houses, and a little research can prevent you from making many of the biggest mistakes remodeling homeowners make.

eLocal Expert Network