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For Boomers & Their Aging Parents

Smart Renovations for the 55+ crowd

If you're 55+ years old and plan on remodeling your home, you may want to include some universal design features that will not only make your life easier as you age but will also enhance your home's value.
In General:
1. Adapt the lower floor of your home for one level living where possible.  This includes a full bathroom
    and laundry area on the first floor.
2. Use hard flooring surfaces like wood, laminate, stone or tile.  Carpeting often becomes an obstacle to  
    those using a walker or a wheelchair.
3. Increase the doorway widths to a minimum of 36".  Wider doorways work for everyone whether 
    maneuvering strollers, carrying laundry baskets & other bulky items, or accommodating a wheelchair.
4. Use light colors when decorating.  Lighter colors are easier to see and contrasting light colors help with 
    depth perception issues.
5. Install handrails on both sides of stairs.
For the Kitchen:
1. Install cabinets with pull out lower shelves and adjustable upper shelves; use easy to grip knobs or pulls.
2. Vary the height of your counters - some counters can be as low as 30" (table height) while others can be 
    the more standard 36" height.  This allows ease of use for all ages and physical abilities.
3. Choose colored or patterned borders at counter edges.
4. Install task lighting under cabinetry
5. Purchase a side-by-side or drawer refrigerator and a cook top with front controls.  Look for the newest 
    trends in pull out dishwashers and drawer microwaves.
For the Bath:
1. Install a stall shower with no threshold or a low threshold for ease of entry; consider a built-in shower 
2. Use non-slip tile for shower and bath floors.
3. Place designer style grab bars at shower entry and along side walls.
4. Replace your standard height toilet (15") with a comfort height (17") one. Those 2" make a great
   difference for those with back problems or with any physical disability.  
5. Replace old faucets with lever handled faucets.
   Susan Luxenberg
   HomeSmart LLC

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