Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 16 seconds
These are two terms that are relatively new to the remodeling world. The terms refer to something that has become common place in our culture. Both Aging in Place and Universal Design are fairly docile and tranquil terms in comparison to the terror that lurks in the minds of the folks that are fearful of being institutionalized or sent to to dreaded convalescent home. Lord knows that I have seen them all when it comes to those places in my ambulance career. The truth is that there are some great ones out there, however I recall telling my loved ones just put me out of my misery before you send me to one of those places.
One of my Grandma’s recovered form several of her five hip surgeries at our home and to be honest it was a fantastic experience. I was told that in Hawaii it is common for several generations to live under one roof.
The trend it turns out is sweeping the country as financial times become harder and options fewer. Lets face it, we are living longer too. As I see it there are two trends that are emerging.
- Older folks wanting to stay in their homes.
- Children are inviting their parents into their homes or vise versa
My neighbors have depended upon me for years for their little improvements that will allow them to stay in their homes long after they would have been sent to the convalescent home. Whether it is hand rails in the living room or shower or an ADA approved fold down bench there are lots of little things that can be done to make living at home safer.
I vividly recall when my dear neighbor Rogene called in tears when her husband Bob died. She was worried that she would be institutionalized because she had no idea how to maintain her home. My natural instinct was to calm and reassure her. I realized there is nothing I cant fix or untangle and that I would be available 24-7. No matter what happened, I would be there for her. At one point she called when a friend fell on her steps, I had help at her side within 45 seconds (before she hung up).
Levco has installed special showers, benches, hand rails, wheelchair ramps, more outlets, better lighting, taller toilets, special kitchen gadgets to swing a mixer into place, relocated washer / dryer units to the first floor, and replacement steps and porches, just to name a few of the things that are possible. We have even created entire ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units) aka mother in law suites.
Another neighbor Eileen, (who now lives in a convalescent facility herself) told me as her husband John’s health was failing prior to hers that she wasn’t going to have her home look like a hospital. She finally allowed me to add a custom grab bar to the wall near a sunken living room. He could maneuver the two stairs by himself, as his legs gave out long before his upper body.
No matter what the request, it is worth evaluating because I am a huge proponent of making homes make sense. Lower counter tops, transfer benches, roll in showers, widening doorways, remote control skylights. there is no end to the imagination when it comes to adapting someone’s home to suit their needs. In some cases funds are available through the VA or maybe from other sources. Don’t let your pride get in the way of letting us make your home safe and functional. After all it is far less expensive and far more comfortable than having to ship out to a facility before it is absolutely necessary.