I recently read an article about a survey conducted by the National Institute on Ageing at Toronto's Ryerson University saying that COVID-19 has more people thinking about ageing in place. The survey of 1,517 Canadians suggests more seniors want to continue living at home as they age, rather than move to a retirement home or long-term care facility.
Sixty per cent of respondents said the pandemic had changed their opinions on whether they would arrange for themselves or an older loved one to live in a retirement home. Seventy per cent of respondents aged 65 and older said they would try to live safely and independently in their own home as long as possible.
Do you feel the same about your own ageing process? The good news is, you can stay in your present home as long as you want if you design it to meet your future lifestyle needs. Here are some things to consider.
You can make your washrooms safer and help prevent falls by having smooth transitions between floor finishes. Installing a curbless or roll-in shower is a great idea if you want to remain independent. You might want to have a seat in the shower and install a hand-held spout lower on the wall for easier access. And, a floating vanity provides easy wheelchair access.
Consider wider doorways and hallways to accommodate wheelchairs. Think about stairlifts and elevators for the future. When it comes to the kitchen, you can install upper cabinets that lower with a slight pull on a handle for easier access. Lastly, think about a dual-height kitchen island or counter to accommodate both those in a wheelchair and everyone else in the family.
The provincial government recently announced the Seniors' Home Safety Tax Credit, which can help you make your home safer and more accessible. The tax credit is worth 25 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses for a senior's principal residence in Ontario. The maximum credit is $2,500.
This is only a short list of what you need to consider. We could get into more detail, such as addressing lighting quality to help with visual impairments, or other potential situations that need special consideration, but the best thing to do is to work with a RenoMark renovator who has a certified ageing in place specialist on staff. These professionals know what to do, have the correct licences and will ensure that you do it legally and correctly the first time. Your home and safety are not places to cut corners. Find out more by visiting renomark.ca
Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.
For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, @bildgta, or visit the website.