Monday, June 17, 2024

5 Designer Tips For Staying Safe And Comfortable In Your Home Longer

There’s no question that Canada’s population is aging, and people want to stay in their homes while they do. A recent survey found that 93 percent of seniors feel it’s important to stay in their home through their retirement years. So how can you extend the time you and your loved ones spend in your home sweet home, into your golden years?

Here the National Home Show’s aging-in-place expert Linda Mazur of design firm Linda Mazur Design Group in Newmarket, ON, shares her 5 tips for staying comfortably in your home, longer: 

Linda Mazur

1) Clear the clutter. Allowing enough floor space, particularly in the bathroom and kitchen should you or a loved one require the assistance of a walker or wheelchair is key. “If budget permits, widening doorways or at the very least, ensuring entryways are unobstructed will allow for ease of access to the most widely used rooms in the house,” Mazur suggests.

2) Store smart. Tuck away must-keep clutter. Think of sofas and footrests with hidden storage for your living room. In the kitchen, a sleek but storage-smart island with pull out cupboards, a side-by-side fridge and placing appliances like your microwave below the counter will have your back—literally. Neat options like Panasonic’s vertical cabinets can put all your needs within reach now and in the future.

3) Tech that talks. Let your home do the hard work for you, by equipping it with the latest and greatest in smart home technology. Whether you’re near or far, command Amazon

Voice recognition technology is an invaluable tool for older adults. Photo: Amazon Echo.

Alexa or Google Home to check on a loved one with security cameras, turn up the thermostat, switch on the lights, and even call 911 should there be an emergency and a phone isn’t handy.

4) Light it up. Indoors and out, bright lighting can be ambient and useful. Lighting up pathways, hallways and stairs for easy visibility, adding automatic lights and pairing with smart home tech for turning on and off in a snap is essential. One more brilliant idea to light up about—even when it comes to outlets— place these high and switches low.

Safe bathrooms feature grab bars and slip-resistant tile. Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons, Arthaey Angosii.

5) Avoid “slip-ups.” “Adding slip-resistant tile, is a must,” says Mazur. If you can’t afford the splurge, non-skid mats and no-slip strips on slippery surfaces help with traction. And if you want to skip a possible trip, avoid rugs. Bathroom wise, she adds “chic grab bars (they do exist!) and curbless showers for easy entry and even shower seating are all good to think about incorporating, if space permits.”

Today’s diverse population, regardless of age, ability or physical constraints all want to enjoy the comforts and beauty of a well-designed home. “I’ve done many renos for people that are not yet seniors, but need to care for those that are or want to do renos now before they have to,” Mazur explains.

Aging in place or as she calls it— “living in place,” if well thought out will help you maintain a quality of life in your home, a place for you to love and enjoy for many years to come.

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