Home Remodeling for Aging in Place


There is an upward trend occurring where seniors and retirees no longer seek a life of leisure within a retirement community instead opting to age in place. There are many reasons that seniors are looking to stay in their homes longer including the fact that they are in better health and physical condition than past generations. Even though seniors are at the top of their game in 2019 there are still precautions to take in creating safe spaces within their homes.  Even though their health is better, aging still takes a toll and changes the way in which their bodies operate. 

One of the first areas that we like to focus on is the bathroom.  There are a number of hurdles that can make the bathroom the most danger room in the house for aging seniors.  Getting in and out of a tub, standing from the toilet, dim lighting, and inefficient cabinets.  Simple renovations can include:

  • Installation of a comfort-height toilet
  • Putting in place grab bars
  • Replacing standard tubs with step-through tubs or showers without a curb
  • Add sliding shelves under bathroom sinks for easy access to products kept under the sink

Stairs also create a challenge for aging family member inside and outside of the home.  Chair lifts make two story homes doable for seniors that have trouble navigating the stairs.  Exterior ramps can be installed to make entering and exiting the home safer.  Handicap ramps can be installed either permanently or temporarily and can be made from a number of materials from wood to aluminum. 

Another major issue that is present for seniors that choose to stay in their homes as they age is the issue of lighting.  Aging causes changes in vision and make it hard to see when the natural light is not present such as in the evening.  With the installation of light switches that light up at night and motion-activated lights, it is easier for seniors to move about even when it is dark out.

Age in place remodeling, otherwise known as universal design, is making it possible for seniors to stay in their homes longer.   Universal design creates an environment using products that offer safety and comfort to people of all abilities without further need for adaptation.  Glen Miller the Home Doctor has been installing wheelchair accessible ramps, renovating bathrooms, adding additional lighting, and creating safe homes for seniors and those with mobility issues. 

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plansage in place remodelingkitchen and bathroom remodelingfinished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.



Spring Cleaning Allows Homeowners to Declutter Making It Easier to Age in Place

Spring is my favorite time of year.  It is a time for new beginnings, a time for us to declutter, and a time for us to start thinking about the future.  Although there are many renovations that can be done to a home to make it safer to stay in as we age it is important to start the process somewhere.  Spring cleaning is the perfect time to begin the process and thinking about making your home safer to grow old in.  The warmer weather makes it the perfect time to organize, arrange, and renovate the space for your future.

Accidental falls are the number one injury faced by aging homeowners.   Falls that occur because of environmental factors are easily avoided when proper precautions are taken.  The chores that we can accomplish on our own around our homes safely decreases significantly as our physical and cognitive abilities lessen.  These changes happen naturally as we age.  Even the most independent adults will slowly start to need assistance around the home in order to safely age in place.  Activities such as washing dishes, doing laundry, and self-care are things that older individuals are able to do while living on their own however, more advanced chores will require outside support.

Certain issues plague us as we age.  Not only do we become weaker and have less energy, our vision and memory start to fail.  As these more advanced impairments occur our needs to continue living in our homes will change.  While you are spring cleaning it is crucial to begin to think about the factors that will change and limit you down the road.  This is a perfect time to donate excess furniture and knick-knack items that have been collected.  Increasing open space by removing the excess allows for better mobility and decreases the number of tripping hazards. 

Eliminating items from your home can be difficult.  It is important to keep in mind throughout the process that not everything needs to be gotten rid of immediately.  It is a process that will occur over the course of time while you wish to remain in your home and living independently.  For now, start the process by donating, selling, gifting, or discarding those items you are sure of.  If you no longer have a twin sized bed you no longer have a need for twin sized sheets.  Start simple this spring. 

The time to start thinking about your future starts today.  Most of us wish to stay in our homes as long as we can safely do so.  With that in mind future renovations should be completed in a manner that considers aging.  Age in place contractors specialize in creating spaces that are safe for older homeowners discreetly.  Renovations that consider aging in place are most often hardly recognizable.  Some of which include:

  • Custom closets that add storage and organization without the need to reach above your head
  • Shelving for the kitchen & bath that easily slide in and out
  • Increased lighting fixtures throughout the home – lamps are discouraged as they present a tripping hazard
  • Hardwood flooring, low piled carpet, and slip-resistant flooring – throw rugs should be removed from the home
  • Levered handles for doors, faucets, and cabinetry

It is important to start somewhere when you know that your desire is to live within your own home as you age.  Taking it one step at a time makes the process as a whole easier to handle both emotionally and physically.

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.

These Are the Most Expensive Fails in DIY Home Improvement

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Sinenkiy/iStock

Many thrifty homeowners would rather save a few bucks by taking on upgrades themselves (after a few hours binge-watching HGTV and YouTube tutorials, of course) than by calling in the professionals to install new floors or retile the bathroom. Paying the pros is basically throwing money away, right?

If done right, going DIY to fix up a property can lead to some hefty savings. But DIY fails can cost folks big time, according to a recent report from Porch, an online network that connects folks with home improvement professionals.To come up with its results, Porch surveyed nearly 1,200 folks who had completed a home improvement project within the last year.

It turns out the average DIY mistake can cost folks $310 to make right.

“People often take on repairs themselves in an effort to save money, but often can end [up] spending more,” says Porch’s spokesperson, Amanda Woolley. “People are also underestimating the time and emotional toll of these projects.”

So which DIY home improvement flop can set homeowners back the most? Installing flooring wrong costs folks an added $829, bringing the total bill to an average $1,540. That’s got to hurt. Redoing the floors also added an average of 13.8 extra hours of work.

“Jobs like flooring have a high material cost, so errors add [up] very quickly,” says Woolley. Hey, hardwood boards don’t come cheap.

The second most expensive mistake was in exterior paint jobs, which can add $447 to the tab. This was followed by replacing an electrical outlet wrong, an average $445 blunder; installing a ceiling fan incorrectly, at $306; and messing up the electrical wiring, at $255.

Slip-ups can take an emotional toll as well as a financial one. About 45.8% of do-it-yourselfers surveyed who made a mistake fought with their partner during the project, compared with 21.6% of the folks who did everything correctly.

Couples were most likely to fight with one another over electrical wiring or rewiring projects, 43.6% of survey respondents reported. Hanging or patching drywall came in second for sparking domestic strife, at 41.7%; followed by replacing an electrical outlet, at 39.1%; installing a ceiling fan, at 38.2%; and an exterior paint job, at 32.7%.

“These projects can definitely test relationships—whether they are worried about their partner’s safety or arguing about the materials,” says Woolley. “People need to [be] honest about their skill set and do a very close audit of their time versus money tolerance.”

“Is it worth the cost savings for the time and effort you’ll need to put into the job?” she continues. “If not, it might be worth hiring a professional.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/how-much-diy-home-improvement-fails-cost/

Original Date: Mar 27 2019

Written BY: Clare Trapasso

Making Your Home Accessible With a Wheel Chair Ramp


Making your home more accessible for handicapped aids like wheelchairs is a must for many of people with either disabilities or for the elderly. Typically the first step to make in a lack of mobility situation is to install a wheelchair ramp.  Having a ramp installed on your home will improve a person’s life tremendously by entering and exiting the house freely and independently with little to no help from other members of the family.

There are many options for installing or building a wheelchair ramp that can be quite easy to accomplish and have a few options to consider. One choice you can decide on is to take the route of DIY and have the family join together for a weekend project or option #2 is to hire a professional to install one for you. No matter your choice of individual you decide to complete the job, there are some key elements to building and designing the ideal wheelchair ramp for you.

Choosing a ramp that’s right for you

Each accessibility ramp is unique and choosing one that is the right fit for your needs is most important. There are many factors to consider when finding the perfect wheelchair ramp for your home. First question to ask your self is; what type of mobile aid(s) will the person use? Also, there is a chance that the mobile aid that the person is currently using could evolve and change over time. Maybe they currently use a cane or walker but as the years go on, a person may need to switch to a wheelchair as they continue to age.

The next question to consider is; what entrance of the house is the accessibility ramp going to be installed on? Some homes will have obstacles that need to be taken into consideration such as landscape features that will need to be built around. It is also important to check with any zoning requirements in your area through the township or HOA that may require special requirements. Next, deciding on the material you want to use in the construction of the ramp needs to be chosen. Your budget and preference on whether function is more important than curb appeal will help in these decisions. Also Depending on the material chosen, this may or may not make it harder to move at a later time if the ramp is not intended on being a permanent fixture on the home. Lastly, a question to ask yourself about your unique ramp is; how much time do you want to put into construction? It is sometimes best to consult a professional contractor to complete the ramp installation.

Designing the Ramp

The design and requirements of your ramp will be unique because of the factors such as layout of the home or yard and the height needed for ramp. A short ramp would do perfect for a situation with only a couple steps or less than 3 foot incline but if your home is higher off the ground, a ramp will need to be designed with platforms so the incline is not so steep. Platforms are flat landing areas that help break up a ramp to allow the incline to only reach 30 inches. The Recommendation from ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) that platforms are minimum 60 inches square in order to allow a user enough space to turn in a wheelchair as needed. This also allows a person to stop moving and take a break when needed. Platforms also assist in navigating around obstacles or allow ramps to fit in smaller areas.

The width of the wheel chair ramp is another important aspect to measure for your design. It is recommended by ADA a minimum of 36 inches in between hand rails. This specific measurement should allow even manual wheelchairs the ability to fit comfortably. A reminder to measure in between the closest part of hand rail not at the base otherwise it could cause a person in wheelchair to hit their elbows on the railing if too close.

Guidelines are put into place by ADA to insure that the utmost safety is guaranteed. If working with a contractor, be sure they are building your ramp to be ADA compliant in order to successfully build and design a ramp with safety in mind. If installing a ramp at a business and is not ADA compliant, you can expect it to lead to fines in future as well. Some of these guidelines include: no- skid surfaces, handrails on both sides for any ramp longer than 6 inches, platforms installed if ramp is over 30 feet, and at least a 2 inch flange on bottom sides of ramp to prevent slipping off.

Ramp Materials

Two materials that you can choose from when building your ramp is either wood or metal. Of course with every option, each has their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, no matter the material you choose a ramp should be secured strongly to the ground and anti slip surface added. Taking a closer look at wood ramps, they are typically used in a permanent setting and if built correctly they can last for many years and add true value to your home. The surface of the decking is very important to ensure it is non slip. If ramp is made with a bad type of wood, it will quickly become very slippery in wet weather for everyone using it not only for the disabled. Make sure to do your research on companies who produce ADA-compliant composite materials such as Trex Accents that help increase traction on its surface.

When taking a look at metal for material of choice on your wheel chair ramps aluminum is a top contender. A primary advantage of metal as your material is the ease of installation. Some installs can be done in an hour and also easily removed and transported to a new home if and when needed. If needing a more complex design, metal ramps are great options for this as well and can be custom designed with platforms. The overall appearance of a metal ramp is much pleasing to your curb appeal but there are some that have been designed to look less medical looking.

Prebuilt or Custom Wheelchair Ramps

There are several companies through medical supply or home improvement stores that can assist when choosing a pre-built ramp that is ready to be installed and can be easier route for many compared to building new from scratch. On the other hand, if deciding to build and design your own wheelchair ramp it can be a cost savings on materials but will take more time than installing a pre- built option. Another great advantage of a custom ramp is that is can fit an individuals needs and overcome any special challenges. Hiring a professional contractor to help with your ramp needs will save you time and make this project much less stressful from start to finish.

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.



Start winter recovery now

Some chores are best done prior to spring

Though spring is still a few weeks away, there are important tasks you can do around the house this month to prepare your home for the coming season.

“It’s vital to start on your winter-recovery checklist as soon as you start to feel the first shy breezes of spring blow in,” says Rob Morelli, chief executive of HomeKeepr.com, a referral network for home-service professionals.

These home maintenance tasks deserve your attention now, not later.

Seal air leaks. The dead of winter is when you’ll really notice drafts in your home. This will make it easier for you to identify air leaks and plug them, which will help prevent warm air loss now and cool air loss during warm spring days, Morelli says.

Homeowners should pay particular attention to windows and doors, he says. If you spot cracks or gaps, caulking or weatherstripping should fix the problem; both are simple, DIY projects. Weatherstripping windows, for example, requires only measuring tape, a utility knife and self-adhesive tape.

Inspect your roof for damage. If roof is 20 years or older, inspecting its condition after a major snow or ice storm could be a good idea, as older shingles may have taken a beating. “Assuming the roof is walkable, you have an appropriate-size ladder and you’re comfortable going up,” advises Mark Clement, co-founder of MyFixitUpLife.com, a resource for DIY home remodeling, “check your roof.”

Look for torn, warped or missing shingles and contact a professional roofing company immediately if you discover any, as they can indicate deeper problems in the structural integrity. Just make sure you’ve given ice or snow time to melt before doing your inspection so you have clear visibility and won’t slip.

Clear out gutters. Heavy snow or ice can loosen fasteners and pull gutters away from your home, says Morelli, which may cause drainage issues. “With the heavy rain months approaching and winter getting behind us, you want to fix any damage to gutters now,” he says. Clearing gutters of winter debris will also prepare them for spring showers.

Check for uninvited guests. Morelli says now is a good time to check certain areas of your home for animals or critters that may have taken up residence inside your house to escape the cold. Search for pests in dryer vents, the attic and the basement; animals tend to hole up in warm spaces.

Test your sump pump. Sump pumps help keep basements and crawl spaces dry. If water accumulates in these areas, a sump pump will perform like a drain, sucking up the water and pumping it through a pipe that releases the water outside your home. Without a working sump pump, your home could be at risk of flooding, which is a real concern during spring showers, Morelli says.

Consider hiring a plumber to do an inspection for you, as most plumbers charge only $45 to $65 an hour for sump pump work, HomeAdvisor says.

Prepare lawn equipment. If you’ve got a lawn to mow, tend to your equipment now so you’re ready to kick off the spring season without a hitch. You can start by draining old gas and oil from your mower, because lawn mower fuel that has been left to sit over the winter can deteriorate and harm small engines, says Missy Henriksen, a spokeswoman at the National Association of Landscape Professionals. Then check your mower blades for wear and tear, replace spark plugs to ensure easy start-up, and inspect the air filter. A clogged or dirty air filter can cause the machine to burn gas less efficiently.

Insulate the attic. If your attic has little or no insulation, the room could become a sweatbox on a warm spring day. Adding insulation before warmer weather arrives will prevent that from happening. Another benefit of insulating your attic now: It will help reduce heat loss during the cold winter days ahead, says Clement.

Of course, there are different types of insulation to choose from: blown-in cellulose, batt (such as fiberglass, mineral wool or cotton) and spray foam are three popular materials. Your best selection method: Reach out to an architect to evaluate the conditions of your attic and to provide recommendations for the best insulation for your budget (e.g. professionals charge $1,500 to $2,000 to insulate a 1,200-square-foot attic with blown-in cellulose, according to FamilyHandyman.com.)

Insulate pipes. If a pipe burst in your house during a recent cold snap, make sure the new one is well-insulated. The last thing you want is for newly replaced pipes to burst.

Foam pipe insulation can benefit your home year-round, because it acts as a protective cover against cold during the winter and heat during the summer (when condensation can build) for copper and PVC pipes; it costs about $1.50 to $3 per six feet at Home Depot.

Check your deck. If you cleaned and sealed your deck in the fall, you’re probably not going to need to worry much about damage. But if you didn’t, check carefully for signs of rot before power washing the deck boards to remove the salt and muck from winter.

Original Source: http://www.journalgazette.net/features/home-garden/20190304/start-winter-recovery-now

Original Date: March 4 2019

Written By: Daniel Bortz

Planning Your Home For Aging In Place Renovations

In general, society tends to shy away from talking about and planning for the steps necessary as we age.  The hard-cold truth though is that we are all going to get older.  We will start to lose the ability to do as we once did and eventually will need aides in place to assist us with everyday tasks.  Age in place remodeling allows us to be in charge in the changes happening in our homes.  Beginning this process sooner rather than later allows for better planning and helps to create a safer, more usable space that is easy for homeowners of all ages to live in. 

Below is a list of age in place renovation ideas to help get you inspired during your next remodeling project.  It is important to take control of your quality of life while you are still fully in charge to ensure your own personal comfort in your home throughout the aging process.

Age in Place Kitchen Renovation Ideas

Kitchens are a key space in renovating for aging as much of our time is spent in the space.  Elements to consider include:

  • Sinks:  If possible, install a motorized sink that can raise and lower. These are a perfect addition for individuals who are unable to stand for long periods of time or are wheelchair bound.  Increasing the height of a sink can be beneficial as well as it offers support to lean upon for those using the sink in an upright position.  Consider installing a shallow sink with a hands-free faucet element with a pull-out sprayer are beneficial as well. 
  • Cabinets:  Install cabinet hardware that can easily be opened and closed, most often “D” shape pulls work the best.  Cabinets with shelving that is easily pushed in and pulled out is the best suited option for both top and bottom cabinets when remodeling a kitchen for aging in place.
  • Appliances: The installation of universally designed appliances is a major advantage when renovating your kitchen for ease of use for aging homeowners.  To save money, invest in energy saving appliances that are specifically made for easy use of individuals that are aging. 

Age in Place Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

Bathrooms are another space within the home that are used daily.  Elements to consider in age in place bathroom renovations include:

  • Space: The less clutter and the more open floor space the better.  If aides such as a wheelchair or cane are needed it is crucial that there is space within the room to move about.
  • Toilets:  A seat extender can be used on a standard toilet height however a taller toilet is the best option.  Install a toilet that can accommodate aging users with limited mobility.  It gets harder to stand up off a toilet the lower the basin is.  Consider adding a budget for improved hygiene.  Toilet paper holders should be installed within easy sitting reach. 
  • Grab Bars: Anytime you can add on support it increases the safety of a room and task ten-fold.  Consider adding grab bars around the toilet and shower.  Grab bars should support upwards of 300 pounds.  Textured grab bars are better than non textured.
  • Bathtubs/Showers: Standard bathtubs are not ideal for aging individuals.  If possible, replace standard tubs with walk-in tubs or a no threshold shower.  It is crucial to offer seating either permanent or temporary, adjustable shower heads with a hand-held option, and a non-slip floor.

Each room in your home from the laundry room to the garage should all be included in planned age in place renovations.  It is important that spaces are uncluttered, free of throw rugs, and made to be as easy to use as possible.  If there is a simpler way to complete everyday tasks make sure it is in place to bring as much ease of living as possible to your home and loved ones.

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.



That’s So 2018! Outdated Remodeling Advice You Might Be Following

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RyanJLane/iStock

Few things are as exciting as remodeling your house. Who hasn’t swooned over glass tile, or groovy wallpaper, or some other cool idea for updating your digs? But this doesn’t mean you should buy into every renovation idea that catches your fancy.

The reason: Many seemingly hot trends aren’t as “timeless” as you might think—and same goes for a lot of the advice you might hear on how to make these upgrades happen. So before you sign that punch list, check this list of outdated remodeling tips that may have been fine to follow last year, but are currently on the outs.

Focus on the kitchen

The kitchen is no longer the room where you should be investing all your time and money. According to Sarah Karakaian, interior designer at Nestrs out of Columbus, OH, “Kitchens are important, but do not bring the highest ROI anymore.”

For better resale value today, focus on your outside space.

“Investing in your garage’s curb appeal, like a new door, will help you get more return on investment than your kitchen,” Karakaian says.

Always go for granite counters

Speaking of kitchens, granite has been the gold standard when it comes to countertops for decades, but it’s not the winner that it used to be.

“It was just a matter of time, but granite countertops are becoming old school,” says Robert Taylor, a rehabber in Sacramento, CA.

The reason: “Buyers are looking for lower-maintenance kitchen counters that lack granite’s need for regular sealing,” Taylor explains. “Because quartz is nonporous and harder than granite, it lasts longer.”

Sustainability points also go to this material. “Quartz countertops are recyclable and often include recycled materials,” Taylor adds. (Here’s more on types of countertops and their pros and cons.)

Bright white is best

If you’re a fan of color, it’s finally your time to shine.

“The all-white space is a thing of the past,” says Leah Tuttleman, corporate designer at Re-Bath. However, just because it’s time to tone down the white doesn’t mean it’s completely gone.

“Black and white are classic colors, unlike other colors that come and go. In combination, black and white will forever remain a classic—but it shouldn’t be overdone,” she explains.

This rings particularly true with your tile choices. Those black and white tile designs that have been “in” for decades are finally seeing their way out.

“If you are thinking of doing a renovation, stay away from black and white tiles in kitchens and baths,” adds Chrissy O’Donnell, associate broker with Re/Max West End in Northern Virginia. “Brighter colors are in style now.”

Additions are always a good idea

No one likes to feel crowded—especially in their own home—but that doesn’t mean you should jump right to adding more square footage to your home. In fact, doing so has started to take on a negative vibe.

“In an era where consumers are focused on minimizing carbon footprints, adding oversized master suites and nonessential living areas is outdated,” explains Scott Toal, president of Federal Brace, in Belmont NC.

“Current advice would direct the renovation toward maximizing functional areas that exists within the home and even to repurpose underutilized space to increase the efficiency of the structure,” he explains.

In other words, it’s time to figure out how to work with the space you’ve got.

Finish the basement ‘for the kids’

Don’t panic, finished basements are sill a thing. They’re just serving a different purpose these days.

“The old thought was, finish the basement and put the kids down there. Now basements are much more—man caves, sports bars, or people are adding kitchens and baths to accommodate aging family members moving in,” explains Will Faix, president of the Open Floor Plan in West Chester, PA.

“More and more, the finished basement is sought out by home buyers and will make your home sell for more and faster when the time comes,” Faix adds. But as an adult play space, not just for kids.

Just rip the whole thing out and start over!

You’ve seen it on all the home improvement shows, right? The best part of any renovation is demo day. But be careful where you aim that sledgehammer, because nowadays, salvaging what’s there can be trendy.

“Now the thinking is to conserve the charm and intent of a space, and make more minor improvements,” says Rebecca Rowland, owner of Rebecca Rowland Interiors in Seattle.

“Something like a pink tile, pink toilet, pink tub bathroom can be updated with a great wallpaper and new vanity to feel vintage and filled with character, but with a modern twist that helps it not feel quite so dated.”

Use a loan to pay for fixes

Not too long ago, homeowners wouldn’t blink at the thought of refinancing to pay for renovations. Recent history, however, should make you reconsider.

“Memories from 2008 should instill caution as to how much to borrow, potential for rising interest rates, resale value, and other events that could disrupt your financial situation,” warns designer Susan Serra, president of Susan Serra Associates. “Proceed with caution and second-guess the total cost commitment.”

It’ll be hard to enjoy your freshened space if it puts you in a tough financial situation. Instead, homeowners today have learned the value of saving for a project and finishing it without a mountain of debt.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/outdated-home-renovation-advice-to-ignore/

Original Date: Feb 5 2019

Written By: Whitney Coy

What Should I Know About Universal Design and Remodeling My Bathroom?


The first thing you should know is that when accessible bathroom design is done well, it will be a perfect blend between function, form, and aesthetics.  Thanks to all of the advancements in universal bathroom design, contractors are able to transform and everyday space into and accessible sanctuary that is safe for everyone to use. Contractors combine products designed for patient safety with interior design ideas in order to create a bathroom that is functional regardless of age or ability. 

Take a look at how the licensed and insured Universal Design contractors at Glen Miller the Home Doctor can create a bathroom space that keeps you safe as you age in place without compromising on aesthetics.

Cupboards Hung On the Wall

Wall hung cabinets are best as they can be hung at any height needed while minimizing obstruction of objects on the floor.  Cabinets made from natural and easy to maintain materials are perfect for use in age in place bathroom remodeling. Wall hung cabinets give a contemporary feel with a minimalist approach that is perfect for use in Universal Design.

Walk-In Tubs and Showers

Two very unique concepts but both providing function, safety, and beauty: walk-in tubs and threshold free showers are popular options in bathroom remodeling.  Age in place showers have come a long way since the days of installing grab bars around an old ceramic tub.  Accessible showers are now created using slip-resistant tiles, built in seating, built in grab bars, and removable shower heads.  Thus, creating a luxury spa like shower that can be enjoyed without the worry of falls while getting clean.  Accessible tubs make bathing possible without the dangers associated with limited mobility.

Toilet Accessibility

Another important element in Universal Bathroom design is the accessibility to the toilet without the need for assistance. To accommodate aging bodies or ones with disabilities it is crucial to have a toilet that is easy to access.  This means the height of the toilet is adjusted to be higher and grab bar support to help ease the up and down are in place. This also means installing toilet paper roles at a height and location that is accessible without any real reaching.  Don’t skimp and install a raised toilet chair if you are redesigning a bathroom for Universal Design.  Spend the little bit extra to install a secure, higher height toilet.  It is usable for individuals of all abilities with very little noticeable difference to standard toilets.

The whole concept of Universal Design is to create a space that blends functionality with home design; creating a space that is safe to use for individuals of all ages and abilities.

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.



Proactive planning eases stresses that may come with aging in place

Updating a home for easier aging in place can be daunting, but being proactive can minimize both the financial and emotional stresses. (Andy Dean Photography/Big Stock Photo)

As we age, our physical abilities change. One day you’re taking stairs two at a time, the next it’s a pain to go up even a dozen.

Those challenges are amplified if you’re in a house that wasn’t designed with those capabilities in mind. The choice to remain in a home that you have loved for decades but no longer meets your physical needs can be incredibly tough.

Luckily, there are more options for aging in place than ever before.

“The number one problem with aging in place is falls,” said Bob Aquilino, president of Accessible Design & Build. “Equipping the home to have the infrastructure to prevent that begins in the bathroom and the kitchen.”

Updating a bathroom or kitchen for easier aging in place is more than just installing new countertops or shelves.

It can mean a new oven where all of the buttons are on the front so it’s accessible from a lower height, or installing a microwave that’s built into the central island. Even just adjusting the height of all of the light switches or plugs can make a major difference.

For Aquilino, all of the houses they build come standard with some basic adjustments to make life just that much easier.

“All of the doors are 36 inches. The bathroom door: it opens out, not in. The width around the island is wide enough that a wheelchair can navigate it easily. There are outlets at the bottom and top of the stairs so it’s easy to put a chairlift in,” Aquilino pointed out.

Renovating homes that weren’t built with aging in place in mind can be prohibitively expensive.

Multi-floor homes might require the introduction of an elevator, a cost Aquilino estimates can reach $75,000. Smaller renovations, like installing a walk-in shower or updating the garage entry so it doesn’t include steps, are more cost-effective but may not address every issue.

When it comes down to choosing a home for aging residents, quality of health should be one of the most important factors.

“Can they function in their environment?” asked Robin Kipple, senior director of population health and clinical integration at WellCare Health. “If you’re talking about function, you’re going to look at, ‘Can they do the things in their environment to maintain their health? Are they able to make their meals? Can they take their medication?’”

It’s not enough to just know these changes are coming, it is important to discuss them and have a plan. If an accident occurs or if needs change over time as they age, what does the senior want and what options are financially viable?

“Really, to be proactive versus reactive is always the best route to go,” Kipple said. “Have these conversations early, discuss the family member’s wishes. What arrangements do you need to make? Having these worked out ahead of time is always the best bet.”

Having the discussion is one thing, but knowing all of the options is another.

Instead of guessing how much a renovation would cost, get an estimate. Learn more about caregivers in the area, what services they provide as well as what you can afford. Getting unbiased and knowledgeable professional guidance is critical to ensuring a fully informed living location decision is made.

“We utilize a multi-dimensional assessment tool,” said Cameron Tribbett, co-founder of Summit Senior Solutions. “Working in conjunction with older adult-focused health and home renovation professionals can help you get an unbiased assessment to determine if staying at home is truly viable. If the health and environment-needs equation isn’t working to age in place, we’ll then work with the older adult and their family to help determine the best alternative living situation.”

Updating a home or relocating to a new living situation can be daunting, but experts are available to help you make an informed choice. Being proactive can minimize both the financial and emotional stresses and ensure that your senior life is healthy, safe and enjoyable.

Original Source: https://www.wral.com/proactive-planning-eases-stresses-that-may-come-with-aging-in-place/18089124/

Original Date: Jan 2 2019

Written By: Curtis Spring

The Correct Use of Lighting in Your Home Improvements

In order to bring your remodeling projects to a whole new level consider the lighting in the space. In order to truly understand how the lighting in a room can spice up any renovation it is important to know what types of lighting is available and the best ratio of light to use within the space. To help we have created a list of different lighting options available to choose from.

Options in Lighting

Lighting can be used in a number of ways.  More often than not layered lighting is the best option to really boost your rooms appeal. When renovating the space consider how the three options below work together to not only provide functionality but also style, and beauty. Ambient Lighting: General lighting is considered ambient lighting and is used to create overall illumination within your renovation. Ambient lighting is the lighting is the usable lighting in the space.  It provides the brightness that is needed in the room to proceed with the tasks that are done within the space.More often than not your renovations will include ambient lighting.  This includes lighting that comes from the ceiling from ceiling mounted lights, recessed lighting, track lights, and chandeliers. Task Lighting: As the name applies, task lighting is in place to make every day tasks easier.  Task lighting provides a small beam of targeted light for activities like working, cooking, reading, getting ready and more.  Some examples of task lighting are floor lamps, reading lamps, under-cabinet lighting, stove lighting and more.  Task lighting take away the imperfections such as glare and shadow. Accent Lighting: Much like you add a hat and scarf to your coat or earring to an outfit, accent lighting is used to add flair to your room. It adds a focal point within your room. Most accent lighting fixtures provide at least three more times the light then ambient light does.  If you have incredibly high ceilings and you want to accentuate the height add an accent light to the ceiling.  If you have a picture on the wall that you want to be the main focus of the room, try adding in sconces that project lighting on to the pieces.

Plan for Lighting in Your Renovation

As you are planning for your remodel clarify your goals for the space and how the lighting needs to be utilized in the space.  What will you be doing in the space?  If you are renovating a kitchen are you looking to do more than cook and eat? Often times extra lighting is needed above an island area to illuminate the space for working or studying. Consider adjustable lighting as well in areas like a dining room so that the mood of the room can be changed depending on the situation. Your lighting should also take into consideration the style of your renovation.  Modern lighting options don’t fit in aesthetically with country chic.  When choosing lighting consider the different aspects of the room remodel you want to coordinate with. Next it is important to consider how much lighting you actually want and need.  What is the right amount of lighting to make your renovation usable as it is intended too?  Having too little lighting in a space may make the remodel useless which is the last thing you want for your new space.  Consider the size of the space.  A good calculation to make is that 40 lumens are needs per foot of room space.  A 600 square foot room would need 24,000 lumens, 600 square foot x 40. Build a plan for your room remodeling lighting elements that begins with a central source of ambient lighting.  You can build onto the lighting in the space from there.  Task lighting is usually the next element that contractors consider. Do you need some glare free work space above the counters to allow you to easily measure ingredients?  Do you need additional lighting over a kitchen island where you will be prepping meals or bake goods?  Lastly, choose one interesting feature in the renovation that you want to bring attention to.  Add in an accent feature to highlight the feature.  If you have had an amazing arched entry add you may want to include wall sconces that shine light upward on each side of the entry to highlight the arch. It is also important to choose the right type of light bulb for each type of lighting feature.  Will you be using all incandescent lights?  Do you prefer LED bulbs?  Are you okay with a combination of both?  Most ambient lighting will use incandescent light bulbs as they provide a warm glow.  LED lights are best used in task lighting where the brightness of the bulb helps to see what you are working on better. Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/