(BPT) - It's hard to think about getting older, but it's even harder to think about having to move out of the comfort of a beloved home when advanced age makes it difficult to get around your space easily and safely. But with today's technologies, it's easier to update your home in ways that make it possible for you or a loved one to age in place gracefully, without being forced to make major changes in the home's structure or decor.
Aging-in-place remodeling - adapting a home to live in it safely, comfortably and independently regardless of age or accessibility level - is becoming more prevalent as the population matures, and seniors overwhelmingly prefer to stay in their own homes as they grow older. Indeed, we are at the dawn of a new day: The number of adults age 65 and older is expected to nearly double over the next 20 years, and more than a third of American households already include one or more residents over the age of 60, according to AARP and the U.S. Census Bureau.
In addition, many in the 76-million member baby boomer generation are not only thinking ahead for their own future housing needs, but more than 60 percent are providing some kind of support for their parents. This can be especially challenging, given the current housing market and the fact that many seniors are either living on fixed incomes or delaying retirement to make ends meet.
The good news is that there are many easy-to-install, personalized products that can be incorporated into a very subtle remodel that fits the way people want to live now as well as later in life. Today's tech-savvy seniors are increasingly embracing new technologies, enabling greater independence.
Here are some tips for incorporating technology updates into an aging-in-place remodel:
Install easy-access locks
Doorknobs and house keys can be difficult to grasp and turn for people with arthritis or limited dexterity, so install door locks that provide easier access. For example, Schlage offers electronic keypad lever and deadbolt locks that deliver an easier, secure and flexible solution. To enter the house, simply enter a unique four-digit access code on the touch keypad, then press down the lever to open the door.
For added convenience, the keypad locks have backlit keypads, making them easy to see in the dark. They come in attractive styles and finishes, blend beautifully with a variety of design motifs, and can be installed easily with just a screwdriver.
Increase home security
Another easy upgrade to consider is an alarmed lock, a cost-effective way to detect activity at the door. An alarmed lock will sound an alert if someone starts to exit the home unattended. This can be a great help to those who not only need to look after their parents, but their grandchildren, too. Alarmed locks can also sound alerts for a variety of activities at the door, to increase overall home security. For example, the alarmed lock from Schlage will sound three distinct alarms to alert to various activities:
1. When a door is accessed, such as someone leaving the house
2. If someone is tampering with the lock
3. If someone is kicking or putting undue pressure on the door in an attempt to break-in
The easy-to-install alarmed lock is battery-operated, requires no wiring, and can be retrofitted to fit an existing door.
Monitor for safety using technology
One of the challenges being alone at home is the possibility that something will happen without anyone knowing or being able to help. For added peace of mind, a Nexia(TM) Home Intelligence system makes it easy for someone such as a relative or caregiver to check in or monitor home functions from anywhere, using a smartphone or Web-enabled computer.
Nexia System users can lock and unlock doors; create temporary or scheduled entry codes for someone needing limited access, such as a care attendant or visiting nurse; adjust heating and cooling with a Trane thermostat; turn lights on and off at different times; open or close window shades for privacy; and view any activity around the home via indoor and outdoor cameras. They can even receive a text alert when a window/door sensor or motion detector identifies a situation at home that needs attention. Visit www.nexiahome.com or more information.