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Plan For Aging When Building

We will all get older and have to pay taxes. Eat healthy, stay active, and try to cheat father time to the greatest degree possible, but we will all still age. So, for those of you building a home, possibly your ‘forever home’, today we are going to discuss things you can do, when building, that will be helpful as you age.

Multiple builders are marketing age 55+ communities in greater Jacksonville. What they are selling is lifestyle (a neighborhood with folks your age and pickleball courts instead of playgrounds), but not all the homes are in tune with the needs of an aging community. This would include low or no steps, wider doors, blocking in walls for support bars and railings, and “natural” lighting.

Let us take each of these on individually. If one gets to a point that they need a walker, mobility chair, or a wheelchair, then a step up – anyplace in the home – can be a problem. Ideally, there would be a no-step access from the garage into the home, and a roll-in shower with a wide opening for easy access. Wide doors, at least 32” but 36” is even better, ensure ease of access when turning in a hallway to enter a room with a mobility chair, or wheelchair.

When installing grab bars and railings it is ideal to catch a stud with at least one end. Depending on the length of the bar or railing sometimes the other end falls between the studs. And while good grab bar anchors are rated for 300 lbs., nobody wants to test those limits. During construction, ask for blocking to be placed in the shower walls to accommodate grab bars. We are talking about $10 worth of wood and screws (and that is being generous given this can be done with scrap) and 20 minutes of work.

“Natural” lighting projects more white wavelength light, and less yellow wavelength light. As our eyes age, their strength weakens, and the lens of the eye gets yellow. Yellow light through a yellow lens with weaker eye makes seeing harder. Natural lighting helps you see better inside your home. Having your builder install LED fixtures that will take higher (equivalent) wattage bulbs in a natural lighting spectrum will help keep your energy costs down today, and help you see better tomorrow.

If you are building, or planning to build a home, discuss these options with your builder to help you age with grace. You may not feel the need for any of this today, but a retrofit will be more expensive when you realize these all may benefit you, or a loved one, as you age. I have no solutions for the inevitability of taxes.

If you have questions, or home improvement, maintenance or repair needs, around the home, call Mr. Handyman to discuss how we might help. Professional, safe, and reliable, Mr. Handyman is here for you.