If your home wasn’t originally designed with senior accessibility in mind, a remodel can be the perfect opportunity to add accessibility features like hand rails and wheelchair ramps. Smart home features can also add accessibility, so whether you have an older relative moving in or are just preparing to age in place, consider adding smart features to your remodeling plans.
Here are some of the ways that smart home features in your next remodel can add accessibility for seniors.
1. Reducing Hands-On Activities
Age-related conditions can make moving around and using fine motor skills more difficult. So reducing the need for a hands-on activity in daily tasks can be a real boon for seniors. Installing smart home automation can help in a variety of ways. For instance:
- Smart cleaning robots can reduce the need for hands-on cleaning
- Voice-controlled devices can reduce the hands-on aspects of communication, TV watching, and web browsing
- Motorized blinds can eliminate the need to reach above your head to close or open the shades
These and any other voice-controlled or automated features can make daily tasks easier and less painful for people who have arthritis or other mobility issues. And some of these, such as motorized blinds and similar home features, are best installed by professionals who are experienced in remodeling and electrical work.
2. Allowing Remote Control
Mobility concerns can also make remote control a real plus. For instance, if a senior is at the other end of the house, they may have difficulty getting to the door quickly if the doorbell rings. A video doorbell, which your remodeling contractor can easily include in a home renovation, can be a significant help here since it allows for answering the door remotely.
3. Providing Senior Monitoring
Senior monitoring systems can monitor for any problems such as unusual activity or safety hazards such as a fire or a home intrusion. Often, these solutions are smart systems that provide remote access, operate automatically, and offer voice-controlled features or emergency buttons that can allow a senior to call for help if needed.
These smart monitoring systems are ideal to provide peace of mind for a senior who’s often home alone. They may have sensors or a series of cameras to install throughout the house, or may even integrate with a home security system which would also require substantial installation work. So a home remodel is the ideal time to install one of these systems.
4. Increasing Ease of Reading
As you age, reading small print, such as the numbers on a thermostat dial, may not be as easy as it used to be. Your contractor can install a digital thermostat with large numbers or a customizable display, or one that you can control from a backlit device such as a phone, to increase ease of reading.
Other smart home items that can be controlled from your phone or tablet can also be helpful in this area. Talk to your remodeling contractor about which home systems can be renovated and updated to improve readability or allow access from your device.
5. Reducing the Need to Remember Things
Devices that provide reminders can be useful to anyone who has a routine to follow (such as pills that they need to take regularly). This can be especially helpful if you’re one of the 40 percent of seniors who live with age-related memory issues.
Automated systems such as an AC that operates on a schedule can also help because you don’t have to remember to turn them on. The more automated systems you have in your home (such as automated heat, air conditioning, blinds, water heater, clothes washer, and more), the less you’ll have to worry about forgetting to take care of something important.
As you can see, adding a variety of automated home features to your next remodel can really help if any seniors will be living in your home. Talk to DesignFirst Builders today to learn more about the different home system automation features and other smart functionalities that could be included in your remodeling project.