American Occupational Therapy Association, preventing falls and living in their loving home for as long as possible being the two biggest concerns for the aging American people.
People want to live in their homes as long as possible as it is a comfortable and familiar environment for them and more importantly, they want to remain independent. If your aging parents have the same sentiments, it is perfectly normal. However, professional contractors of garage remodeling suggest making some modifications to your home to make it safe and more accessible for your aging parents.
There are a lot of places in the home like bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, or living room that needs your attention. However, we will look at a place that often gets neglected, the garage. Although the garage is not a highly used space of your home, it is quite important to the safety and independence of your aging loved ones.
Here are some simple modifications you should do to your garage to make it safe and comfortable for your aging parents.
1. The Best Location and Size of Garage
The ideal location of your garage should be on the same floor as the rest of your home. This will make your life so much easier whether you are going into the garage to bring your daily use items back into the home or even you are going there to go out somewhere.
The amount of space you have in your garage is also a key factor. If your parents use a wheelchair, walker, or any other mobility aid, according to the National Association of Home Builders, there should be at least 5 feet between a handicapped accessible van and a car. So, when you are planning to remodel your garage, keep this important rule in your mind. This 5 feet gap will help them to get out of the car and sit into a wheelchair.
2. What if You Live On a Multi-level Home
If you have to use steps to access your garage, it is very important to make sure that you can get up and down those steps safely. The best solution you can opt for is to have a chair rail installed to help your aging parents go up and down the stairs safely. If having such a feature in your home is not possible, then you don’t have any other option than to install a ramp. However, make sure to have safety rails on both sides and the ramps are made of slip-resistant materials to avoid any fall.
3. Focus a Little More on the Door
You will not believe how difficult a simple looking task like opening a door becomes when people get old. Every doorway opening into your garage should be at least 3 feet wide to accommodate a wheelchair. If you can add some extra space to it, it will be even better as it will help people to carry groceries into the home more easily. The second important thing to look at is the doorknob. Arthritis or general aging makes it very difficult for older people to turn the knob to open the door. The solution is very simple. Change the doorknob with a lever that is very easier to turn.
4. Automatic Garage Door Lights are Insufficient
Garage doors are fitted with automatic lights which light up when you open the door. However, it is unlikely for them to provide enough lighting to see things clearly. There are amazing lighting solutions are available for any type of garages. It not only makes the visibility better rather it can improve the overall looks of your garage. It is best to talk to an experienced garage remodeling contractor about your needs and the updates you will require.
5. Slippery Floors, A Major Cause of Falls
Slippery floors are one of the top concern for any aging person living on his own. Normally, people consider concrete as the best flooring option for old people, but, in fact, it is not. It gets slippery when it is wet and it is very hard and unforgiving if somebody falls. There are two ways to treat a garage floor. You can use a coating or you can use floor covering.
You can use different materials to coat your garage floors. But there are some drawbacks. You will have to make extensive preparations to ensure that the floor is completely clean and dry. Secondly, there is not a single substance that is used to coat the garage floor that will decrease the likelihood that aging people will fall.
On the other hand, floor covering are probably the best solution to avoid slippery floors. There are two best options that you can opt for, the rigid plastic tiles or the flexible interlocking tiles. These tiles are very easy to install materials. Secondly, they have pores that allow the water to drain away. As the holes provide plenty of air circulation, there will be fewer chances of mold accumulation. They are corrosion resistant and very easy to clean material. So, it is best to have either rigid plastic or flexible interlock tiles on the garage floor.
6. Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers Can Save Lives
Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the garage is the most important modification you should be made to your aging parents’ garage. Similarly, fire extinguishers can be handy anywhere and the garage is no exception. If your parents have hearing issues and they can not hear the sounds of their smoke detectors, don’t worry. Check with your local fire department about the flashing smoke detectors that are specially designed for people who cannot hear.
Whether you are remodeling your garage or thinking about renovating it to help yourself or an aging adult, focus on making it more safe and accessible and hire professional garage contractors for the desired outcome. A garage serves many key functions in a home and as you age in place, these functions become even more important. So, don’t neglect your garage when you are thinking to modify your home for a long haul.