All-Access Pass: PLANNING ACCESSIBLE LIVING SPACE FOR CONTINUED INDEPENDENCE

Innovation Construction Co.. is devoted to helping seniors age independently and in place.

Remodeling with universal design in mind and an eye on cost.

Accessibility and value are two key concerns for remodeling clients today.

Accessibility for the growing number of baby boomers who want their homes to accommodate them as they age. Value for budget-minded homeowners who are trying to stretch every dollar further in a tight economy.

With smart planning and foresight, accessibility expenditures can be gradually paced, beginning with minor but practical changes that are cost-conscious from the start and working into more dramatic renovations that will ultimately be hugely cost-effective investments that can avert the necessity of a financially draining move to assisted living.

LOW-COST SECURITY

The quickest, cheapest way to begin accommodating changing needs is the installation of

•reinforced grab bars (by the toilet, in the tub area)
•raised toilet seat
•load-bearing shower seat

KEITH SAYS: A bench seat in the shower is a popular request from clients, if only to hold shampoo bottles or, more realistically, for the women in the family to have a chance to sit down and shave her legs. A high percentage of our baths include shower benches, but they do take up space. Any shower larger than a standard 5-foot footprint will have a shower bench. Less room than that and you start getting cramped for space, but even in a 4-foot shower, we might do a corner bench.

A  pre-formed bench is great for the work we do. They’re extremely lightweight but are also load bearing, and the installation is so much easier than building from scratch. A pre-formed bench is much more efficient and cost-effective.

DESIGNED WITHIN REACH (ECONOMICALLY)

Thinking of both current and future needs (visiting in-laws — who may one day move in — need an accessible environment),the ground floor bathroom can be converted to be wheelchair-accessible with initially minimal remodeling.

Accessible Sinks

For clients who use a wheelchair, nothing beats a bathroom sink with legroom underneath. Without such a sink, a wheelchair user must roll sideways up to a cabinet and employ an awkward, potentially painful body twist just to use the faucet. But an accessible sink lets wheelchair users experience a level of ease performing simple hygiene tasks that the able-bodied among us take for granted. With such a noble function, however, form often gets short shrift. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Lock and Roll: The Rolling Vanity

In this lower-expenditure transitional plan, the bathroom maintains more of a conventional appearance. A simple but cleverly crafted rolling vanity cabinet can be designed to fit the individual space. The appearance is of a conventional, aesthetically appealing sink and vanity. When wheelchair users visit, the vanity cabinet rolls out of the way on its lockable casters.

To help reconfigure the space, the new bathroom includes a sink and counter — set at 34 inches above the finished floor — allows for easy roll up to; along with a wall mirror that tilts at an angle, handy shelves and drawers beside the sink solve the storage problem that often plagues accessible sink set-ups.

UPGRADE FOR ACCESSIBILITY

When circumstances indicate it’s time for the next stage in accessibility remodeling, there is much you can do to adapt your home for an enhanced quality of life and sustained independence.

Universal design concepts include

•wider halls and doorways
•varied-height countertops, and
•lowered light switches

but it’s bathrooms — more specifically, showers — that often get the special attention. After all, the wet tiles of a bathroom are slippery, and when you combine a wet, soapy surface (a shower floor) with being able to safely step in and out of the shower — not to mention some near acrobatics (washing one’s feet or shaving one’s legs) — you get ideal conditions for a slip, a fall, an injury, or worse.

Finding a shower that can comfortably accommodate all family members’ needs and abilities is key in a universal design remodel. Zero-threshold or very low threshold showers are important considerations for the wheelchair user who wishes to remain in his or her home. Of course, shower seating and grab bars are necessary safety components – and these might already be in place if you have begun your accessibility remodel in stages.

CROSSING OFF THE THRESHOLD: low- and-no-threshold showers

Accessible showers demand special products and techniques.

Bathrooms, and specifically low- and no-threshold showers, are getting special attention from manufacturers to meet the demands of the universal-design trend. Manufacturers agree that low-and no-threshold showers are a burgeoning trend.

ON THE LEVEL:

Drainage in a barrier-free shower is an important consideration: “In order to drain water out of the unit, the drain must be wider and the floor has to slope,” says Keith D. of Innovation Construction Co.  “When you bring a threshold to near-zero height, you minimize the ability to slope the floor and there can be issues with water drainage.”

To address this challenge, pre-leveled units are available. On a barrier-free shower, due to the limit in the height of the exterior dam, water drains at ¼ inch per square foot — 50% less pitch than a standard shower— so leveling becomes even more important and it will drain properly.”

A pricier item for adapted living – but one that pays back greatly in comfort and relaxation – is the walk-in bath. There is an astounding selection of models and price ranges on the market. One that we use and recommend is the American Standard walk-in bath product line.

WALK-IN  TUBS

Enjoy warm, fully immersive baths – safely and comfortably.
American Standard walk-in bathtubs are designed so everyone can enjoy warm, fully immersive baths – safely and comfortably. Imagine yourself fully immersed in a comfortable, warm, luxurious whirlpool tub right now. Can you feel your muscles relax? Can you feel the stress release from your body? Can you feel your joints loosening and pain subsiding? Yes? Then you’ve just imagined yourself in an American Standard® walk-in bathtub.

Utilizing the latest technology, American Standard walk-in baths offer the healing benefits of water therapy to ease common ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, backaches, sore knees, and aches associated with obesity.

American Standard walk-in baths offer not only a luxurious bathing experience complete with a myriad of benefits, but also easy-to-use controls and low maintenance requirements. The Quick Drain™ allows you to exit your tub when you are ready, so there’s no long wait for all of the water to drain before you can open the door to exit. This system uses a powerful pump that removes water up to eight times faster than normal drains. The pump does not require extra plumbing, is equipped with a safety suction valve, and is activated with the touch of a button.

Whatever your remodeling needs  — or whatever repairs, replacements, or other work you have done to your home — it’s essential to contract with a licensed professional who has the expertise to do the job right, the integrity to back up his claims, and the ratings and references to assure you of the quality work your home deserves.

We are A-Rated on Angie’s List , and members in good standing of NARI (the National Association of the Remodeling Industry), and the GPBA (Greater Plymouth Builders Association). We are a trusted local home improvement contractor., GREEN CERTIFIED (by NARI) and A+ BBB-Rated. For a free consultation please visit our website www.innovationconst.com, call 508-291-4907, or email Keith at sales@innovationconst.com.

Check out our remodeling reviews on Angie’s List. And check us out on Facebook!

 

Chuckle of the Week

A plumber attended to a leaking faucet at the neurosurgeon’s house. After a two-minute job the plumber demanded $150.

The neurosurgeon exclaimed, ‘I don’t charge this amount even though I am a surgeon.”

The plumber replied, “I didn’t either, when I was a surgeon. That’s why I became a plumber.”

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