Monday, November 19, 2012

Forever Homes: Homeowners Make Their Homes Retirement-Ready
It's been called aging in place, universal design and now the more eloquent term: "Forever Homes".

"I don't like to call it aging in place because it's depressing. Nobody likes to think about when they're old. So I call it a 'Forever Home.' Really what that means is that you're planning on staying in your home forever and eventually you're going to get older and so to plan for the future is wise," says Steven Mark, Senior Design Consultant with Marrokal Design & Remodeling.

According to American Association of Retired Persons, the majority of older homeowners prefer to live in their homes as they age rather than move to a nursing facility or other retirement center.

With that in mind, if you're purchasing a home and it isn't yet a "forever home", not to worry, says Mark. He point out that if you think things through from the start you can have your home remodeled in such a way that it provides for room to age.

Mark is a Certified Aging In Place Specialist. He helps homeowners stay in their homes forever by planning for the future and making sure they'll be comfortable, safe, and secure.

"I don't think there is one most important thing. I think it's all important. I think it's vital to discuss everything and let the clients decide what they feel is most important," says Mark.

Some of the top trends in forever homes are wider entry ways, showers that are wheelchair accessible, and grab bars that are placed in key places in the bathroom showers but are also decorative.

"There are lots of things that we can do for a client. For instance, something as simple as wider doorways can be a big help," says Mark.

He says making the doorway just a couple of inches wider can ensure later that a wheelchair will be accessible. At the same time, it doesn't look any different and is undetectable.

"It doesn't cost any more money but if there's ever a wheelchair in the house, [the homeowners] will be glad that there are just a couple more inches on every single doorway in the house," says Mark.

Another feature that's vital for multi-level homes is an elevator. Mark says that sometimes homeowners don't want to put out the money for the elevator before they really need it.

"A lot of times what I'll do in my designs is prepare for a future elevator. I can take a closet downstairs and a closet upstairs and that will be the shaft for the elevator," explains Mark.

The company then prepares it so that if in the future an elevator is put in, it is wired properly and ready to go. "They will lose the two closets but they get the elevator when they need it."

"The most important thing is to consult with somebody who is knowledgeable in this field and certified because there is nothing worse than doing a project today and then having to redo the project to add the necessary features," says Mark.

A little bit of time learning about your options can provide a lifetime of comfort and safety.

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