Modify your home without making it look like a hospital
More and more seniors these days are choosing to stay in their own homes as they age rather than moving into a care facility. This shift has brought a boom to the aging in place market, with new assistive devices springing up across the board to aid with mobility, safety and everything in between. There is, however, a problem. Though many of the devices are functional and undeniably useful, many of them simply aren’t very attractive, leading many seniors to despair. Though they may need a bit of help here and there, they certainly don’t feel old and don’t want their homes to make it look like they are.
A Changing Home Modification Market
As the boomer generations’ voices have grown louder in recent years, product developers for the Aging in Place sector have been forced to listen. As such, aesthetics have become more and more of a consideration, with developers thinking about how devices will look as well as their functionality.
To get a bit more of an insight into these changes, we spoke to Jim Closs, National Director of Age Safe Canada, who explains that “I have seen many iterations of successful and failed product launches in my 30 years of making homes safe. In this time, the common denominator that makes products successful has been clear: their looks. Despite the overwhelming need for safety, clients want things that look like part of the home. House pride is a powerful component of any renovation, so the products must fall in line with these thoughts.”
As a relatively new market, it’s only natural that product trends should take a while to show up. However, now that the market is aware of this leading consumer concern, we can look forwards to more and more options becoming available – options that keep users safe and fit in seamlessly to the look of a long-established home.
Options of Stylish Home Modifications
Initially white plastic, grab bars have been historically hidden away in bathrooms where it is hoped they won’t be noticed. However, with developments in the market, consumers have become increasingly aware of the options available, now opting for a range of railings and bars in their choice of material. Rather than believing that a bar or railing has to look a certain way to be safe and effective, the market has caught on to the need for style, providing options of all shapes, colours and sizes, perfect for moulding into home décor for all tastes, ensuring homeowners can keep themselves safe without having to compromise. Lessening fatigue and helping avoid falls when balance becomes a problem, grab bars are great to have around the house, from kitchens to bathrooms and entrances to stairways. They don’t, however, solve the problem that is the stairs when residents’ mobility takes a turn for the worse…
Stairlifts: customisable to match your home décor
Though there are several options of products available to help overcome the barrier that is the stairs, one of the most popular is a stairlift. What many people don’t know, however, are just how many options of stairlift there are out there, which means customisation is a given. Whether your stairs are straight, curved or split in half by a landing, the range of stairlift dealers and manufacturers in Canada make sure your needs are met with different styles of rail, fabrics and chair designs to meet a range of tastes. Though a stairlift will never be inconspicuous, it can certainly work with home décor, and the options available ensure they are as un-medical looking as possible, making them an excellent choice for houseproud seniors aging in place.
Homelifts: an attractive solution to the problem that is stairs
A slightly pricier alternative to a stairlift, though one that is sure to blend into a home and is even likely to raise is value, is a residential elevator. Contrary to most people’s worries of lots of building work, pits and shafts being dug and even the noise they expect an elevator to make inside their home, residential elevators have an entirely different structure (and mechanism) to the elevators you see in a high-rise. In fact, you don’t need much more than a hole in the floor for it to travel through, which means it can be installed in a variety of rooms, tucking away neatly and efficiently when not in use. As for its noise rating, that’s also practically non-existent thanks to hydraulic mechanisms and clever engineering.
Whether a fully-fledged part of a home, ready to be shown off to guests and adding that touch of luxury, or tucked into a den for homeowner use only, a Homelift is far more than a mobility device, and solves the problem of the stairs stylishly and indefinitely.
Though style may be a focus of any home renovation, which is only understandable, seniors should always consider checking in with an occupational therapist when it comes to picking out the solutions to help them age in place. Trained to detect present, but also potential future, hazards and problems in a home, an OT’s advice could be vital to structuring your refurb, ensuring your needs are met for years to come, and that your investment really does allow you to age in place safely and in comfort (as well as with style).