Do you want to ensure that Mom and Dad can live safely and comfortably in their home over the years to come? Many seniors want to “age in place.” Remodeling can remove safety hazards and prevent common accidents. It also can be less expensive than paying for assisted living. Plus, making the home “senior friendly” can add to the value of the building long term.
Discuss with your parent(s) the win-win of remodeling to improve the home for
- ease of getting around: single-floor living with an accessible full bath, stair-free entry, and doorways wide enough for a wheelchair.
- ease of use: lever handles for doors and faucets, wide light switches.
- safety: nonslip floors, bright lighting and motion sensors, grab bars, sturdy railings, and simple locks.
These features simply make life easier and safer. More and more they are considered standard (“universal design”) for homes serving people of all ages and abilities.
Here are some tips for finding a qualified contractor:
- Ask friends and professionals you trust for a referral.
- Look for a contractor specializing in “aging-in-place remodeling.” The National Association of Home Builders has a “CAPS” directory of certified aging-in-place specialists (CAPS). These specialists understand the unique needs of older adults.
- Get the license number of any contractor you are considering and look it up on the website of the state licensing board. Check that they have a current license and are bonded. You can also view complaints and lawsuits.
- Ask about experience. For example, how many years in business? Any past “aging-in-place” remodel projects completed?
- Request references. Call several of them! Ask if they were happy with the job. Was it completed on time and within budget? Would they use the person again?
- Get a written bid based on a review of plans. It is appropriate for a contractor to get paid to prepare an in-depth package such as this.
- Ask about written warranties.