Aging in Place: Maintaining a Mobility Mindset in Your Home
Homeowners at Caliente Springs are active, outdoorsy and usually in excellent health. With a combination of tennis, golf, pickleball and swimming routines, our community keeps moving long into their retirement years. But even the healthiest and most energetic know that they can’t defy age completely and one day, things will start to move a little bit slower. It’s not too early to start maintaining a household that can cater to a version of yourself with a little less mobility.
Rightsizing into a comfortable manufactured home is a good first step. Without all the stairs to climb and extra rooms to clean, you’ve already trimmed your inessential maintenance down considerably. But there are other easy, minor changes you can make inside your house that you’ll appreciate later on, too. If all goes well, these are the little things you won’t spend any time worrying about later.
An Easy Incline
Let’s face it: at some point, making your way up the stairs will be a challenge. Replacing front steps with a stylish ADA ramp will keep you ascending and descending with ease, whether you’re running up the incline on two solid feet or using a walker to keep yourself stable as you head to the front door. Don’t forget stable hand-railings on either side.
In the future, Caliente Springs plans to experiment with setting park models directly into the ground so that residents can avoid stairs all together. If you’re thinking of purchasing a park model now, you can ask about this option. If you’ve already got a raised park model installed on your lot, visit the front office for a list of handy contractors (licensed and amateur) to help you install the right include for a smooth step up.
Safely Through the Front Door
A door frame that’s flush with the entry floor will also protect your older self from needless trips and slips, as well as making entry and exit as smooth and slick as it always was. In addition, latch-style handles are much easier on the fingers than traditional turning door knobs. They allow the user to make use of the whole hand instead of relying on somewhat-stiff fingers. As an added bonus, they look much fancier, too.
Let there be Light
Although there is plenty of sunshine outside, brightening up the inside of a home can sometimes be a challenge. While you may not want to replace your entire wall with windows that will let in both sun and heat, there are other ways to make sure your eyes don’t keep you in the dark.
Consider solar-powered skylights. Not only do they let in natural sunlight during the day, but they also charge while the sun is out to provide light into the evening. Outside, be sure you have a motion-detecting light at the base of your ramp or stairs so you’re immediately greeted with light for your incline. Nightlights are always a good idea for the bathroom, too.
Raise it Up
Replacing toilet with one that’s taller, or simply adding a railing next to the toilet to help you get up. Caliente Springs upgrades toilets in each new park model to taller than the standard model, but if you find the toilet still too low, it’s always possible to invest in an even more kingly throne. Adding a bar beside the toilet or in the shower is very easy to install, and can add stability and comfort if you just need a little boost from the seat.
Keep it Low
In the kitchen, it’s best not to do too much reaching or stretching if you become unstable on your feet. If you’re vertically challenged already, you probably know the annoyance of tall cupboards and big stretches. Make a system for yourself that cancels the hassle. It could include hooks below the cupboards on which to hang pots and pans. Maybe it means drastically reorganizing the shelves. Or, if the kitchen needs a remodel anyway, consider replacing your cabinets with some closer to the countertop.
Make it Flat, Let it Stick
New park models come with linoleum flooring throughout and carpet in the bedrooms as their default, but many people choose to change their flooring surfaces to something snazzier. Today you may not think of a beautiful Persian rug or shiny waxed wood floors as ground-level obstacles, but you should certainly take care when preparing those surfaces for future “you.”
Throw a rubber backing on that rug and tack it down so it can’t bend up and trip you. You may also want to throw down quick-gripping rugs in the bathroom and on the kitchen floor, especially under sinks where water can spill.
If you make just a few easy upgrades and changes in your healthy days, you’ll find aging in a park model home an absolute breeze.