If you are way too young to worry about the infirmities of older age, think about what problems you would have at home if you broke your leg while snowboarding or biking in our Whatcom County outdoor sports opportunities?
The best time to add “aging-friendly” (or “recovering from sports injury”) options is before they happen – that is, whenever you are considering a remodel. Just ask your contractor what he or she recommends, and you can do online research as well. But to speed up your research, here are some of the things you would want to consider:
- Have electrical outlets installed about 18″ above the floor, as this will make them easier to reach from a standing position, or from a chair. Have light switches installed below the standard 48″, to make them easier to reach from a chair.
- Have doorways built for a 36″ door (minimum should be 32″), to allow for a walker or wheelchair to pass through.
- When selecting door knobs, cabinet hardware and plumbing fixtures, select designs that can be comfortably used without excessive pinching, twisting or force.
- Prepare the bathroom tub and/or shower walls with blocking so when grab bars are installed they have something to securely attach to. Grab bars are not only something to hold onto for stability, but might be needed if someone actually starts to fall; so the grab bar needs to be able to handle a persons full weight.
- Go ahead and have the grab bars installed during the remodel. They are great to have, even if you don’t have a broken leg!
- Dual level countertops in the kitchen can be very useful if anyone needs to be in a wheelchair while recuperating from an injury or surgery.
There more things to consider, but this list gives a starting point. Talk to a friend who has had to get around on crutches after a leg or foot injury. It’s amazing the obstacles most homes have for those who have any difficulties getting around.
Our company has been trained in modifying homes for what is called aging-in-place or Universal Design (meaning the home is accessible for anyone). Give us a call if you are considering upgrading your home for accessibility.