Invisia is an Ottawa based company that specializes in beautiful bathroom accessories that also keep people safe. Since 2008, Invisia has designed grab bars and bathroom seating that blend style and safety to provide peace of mind while contributing to an elegant bathroom environment.Everything Invisia designs and manufactures is inspired by the idea that style and safety are not mutually exclusive. Something that’s elegant can also be functional. Something that’s beautiful can also provide security. Something stunning can be safe. Invisia products get noticed. Most people just don’t realize how safe they are.
As Stay at Home looks to improve accessibility and safety one option is swapping stairs for ramps in your home or yard. Laura Gaskill from Houzz.com explains how to do this at your home in Minneapolis, Brainerd Lakes or in Hayward, Wisconsin.
If you or someone in your household is in a wheelchair, ramps are a must for navigating between the levels of your home, both indoors and out. That doesn’t mean they need to be purely utilitarian, though. By working with an experienced pro, you can have a ramp that is safe, stylish and perfectly suited to the style of your home. And because they are safer than stairs, ramps can be a good choice for homes with young kids … plus, they’re just more fun. Get all the facts on adding this feature to your home or yard below.
Wheelchair accessibility may be the most obvious reason, but it’s far from the only one. A ramp is also helpful for aging-in-place design, and it’s more fun (and safer) than stairs for young children. With proper planning, a ramp can fit into indoor and outdoor spaces just as well as a traditional staircase, providing visual interest, function and fun. If you plan to sell your home eventually, a well-designed ramp could even make your home more appealing to a wider range of buyers.
If you are looking to build a wheelchair-accessible ramp, choose a designer/builder who is familiar with Americans With Disabilities Act design standards. Following these standards will ensure that the grade of the ramp is safe; the path is wide enough to maneuver a chair on; the flooring material is a safe, nonslip surface; the path is well lit and so on.
Cost: For design and installation, the price can be around $2,000 for a relatively simple, small outdoor ramp. For larger and more elaborate custom designs, the cost can range from $3,500 to $8,000 — consider it on par with the price of having a new interior staircase built.
Your choice of materials will also affect the cost. Concrete or synthetic decking, for example, would be on the lower end of the price range, and fine hardwoods used on an interior ramp on the higher end. By working with your architect or designer, you should be able to choose a material that fits the style of your space and your budget.
Typical project length: A small ramp (equivalent to two or three steps) with a straightforward design can be completed in about two weeks, depending on your site. Larger ramps (the size of a staircase between floors) and more intricate designs can take six to eight weeks or more. If adding a ramp requires major restructuring of other areas of your home, consider the timetable similar to that of a major remodel.
First steps: Decide where you want the ramp to go and think about why you are having it installed. Is it for accessibility, for aging in place or purely for fun? What is your budget and timetable for this project?
Although the architect or designer you choose will give you design guidance, it will be helpful to be familiar with what you like. Save photos you like to share with your designer to make sure you are both on the same page.
Ultimately, it’s important to choose someone whose work you admire and who you feel you can work well with.
When remodeling or building a new home, consider designing your bathroom with an accessible shower. It is much easier to include an accessible shower when remodeling or building is already occurring instead of waiting until you need it; plus it can save you time, money, and stress down the road.
Some people worry that accessible showers are “ugly”, but that does not have to be the case. Below is an article that John Whipple wrote on Houzz about features to consider when designing an accessible shower. As you can see, the accessible showers are stunning.
So why wait until you need an accessible shower, when emotions and stress levels are high? Have one installed now when you can enjoy your beautiful shower for years to come!
How to Design an Accessible Shower
When designing a shower for someone in his or her golden years, remember that this person may have poor vision, balance or mobility. A caregiver or spouse may need room to help with the bathing process, so a shower space should be generously sized and include room to enter with an extra person, a wheelchair or a walker.
That said, an accessible shower does not need to lack in style, as these examples show. Being proactive in your next shower renovation means you can include some or all of these features, even before you need them. It's better to be ready for accessibility than have to scramble to renovate when the need arrives.
Here are some things to consider when planning a shower for seniors.
This shower was designed and built by Harrell Remoldeling. This team's projects always sparkle, and this is a gem. Notice the placement of the grab bars in this bathroom — very well thought out.
If you live in a warmer climate, you may not need a shower door or shower curtain at all. Designing the space as a true wet room — with the entire bathroom floor as a shower pan — makes entry into the shower effortless and provides plenty of room for a caregiver.
Tip: When planning a wet room, consider a wall-hung toilet. This toilet makes building the wet room much easier, since it does not send waste through the floor's waterproofing system. You can also place a wall-hung toilet in a higher position, which makes getting on and off it much easier.
When it comes to a shower's footprint or size, bigger is always better for seniors. This wonderful shower features an oversize door that makes entering the shower space very easy.
Tip: Place the shower control valves near the entry so you don't need to get wet when starting the shower and letting it warm up.
Installing large-format tile can create a nice, level surface for a removable shower stool or shower bench. This shower also includes a handheld spray wand to make bathing easier.
Tip: Unless you're building in a shower bench from the very beginning, consider a one-way slope on your shower floor (like in this photo), so the shower's bench or stool does not rock when it's sat on. Often showers with a standard single-point drain have multiple slopes, and a four-legged stool will rock on these types of floors.
This bathroom was designed and built by By Design Builders, which specified an LED drain light so the client can keep his or her bearings when the shower steams up. If you suffer from a vision impairment, consider one of these LED light kits and linear shower drains.
Tip: Ensure that your bathroom is safely lit at night. Also consider installing nightlights to clearly illuminate the hallway between the bedroom and the bathroom.
Stepping into a regular soaker tub can be hard to do for anyone, but it's more manageable if the distance into the tub is reduced with a step and there are grab bars.
If your shower or bath is dark and you need a little extra light, one or two of these LED grab bars from Elio might be just what you need. They can switch on and off and glow with a nice white light.
Tip: It is not uncommon for someone to slip while getting on or off the toilet, or in or out of the tub. If a pull-chain safety monitor switch cannot be installed nearby, consider a wireless device that can be worn as a necklace.
If your home is connected to a monitored home alarm system, consider installing a panic button in the shower. Many can be switched out to a version with a pull chain.
Tip: When someone falls, sometimes they can't get up, so make the button or pull chain accessible from a prone position.
If a shower curb absolutely needs to be installed, make sure it's as low as possible. At 5 to 7 1/2 inches high, traditional shower curbs can be difficult to step over for those with poor mobility or vision. This shower curb is just under 2 inches, allowing easier access.
Tip: Consider custom grab bars for a shower's glass entry door. These grab bars have a hammered finish, making them easier to grip with soapy hands. I like installing a grab bar right at the entry of the shower and near the shower niche, so bathers can steady themselves when entering and exiting the shower, and when reaching for the shampoo bottle.
While your family in and around Minneapolis may not require any changes to your home right now, consider those visiting your home.Perhaps you have friends, parents, grandparents or other visitors with mobility devices. Including the following three accessibility features will make your home easier for them to visit. Anne- Marie Brunet, CKD, CBD's article on Houzz.com lists 3 home features you can do to boost accessibility.
1. At least one zero-step entrance on a route that's accessible from either the driveway or sidewalk — a slight slope blended in with the landscape is always friendlier than a bulky ramp.
2. Interior doors that have at least 32 inches of unobstructed width (for walkers and wheelchairs).
3. A half bath on the main floor (accessible without stairs).
These features also will help any nonimpaired individuals remain in the home down the road should they develop a disability, either temporary or permanent.
When we're vibrant and independent, we rarely give consideration to these concerns. However, consider for a moment the possibility that you or one of your family members may sustain a temporary injury requiring the use of a chair or walker for the recovery period. How would your home measure up?
This is a wonderful example of how to incorporate a ramp on a traditional house. A gentle slope from the driveway leads to the courtyard entry and a side door. Materials such as stone, flagstone, bluestone and pavers offer solid footing and gripping contact for wheelchairs. Make sure there are no trip hazards for those with walkers or crutches.
Composite decking material, as shown on this ramp, is another popular choice. This material is best used on a covered area in climates with snow and ice, as it could get slippery. Take care when shoveling not to damage the surface.
Concrete or stamped concrete also offers good contact for wheelchairs and walkers. It can be less expensive than traditional flagstone and can be colored to complement your exterior colors. Stamped concrete also comes in a variety of shapes and patterns to mimic flagstone, slate, bluestone or pavers.
Even on hillsides, ramps and slopes can be artfully blended into the landscape. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifications require a slope ratio of 1:12, which means that for every 1 foot of ramp, the rise should not exceed 1 inch. Therefore, if your home has an entry point that's 16 inches above level ground, your ramp will need to be 16 feet long.
A covered or sheltered entryway offers homeowners and visitors alike shelter from the weather. This benefits those with mobility aids who need to put things aside to manipulate keys and doors. For even quicker access, keyless push-button entry systems eliminate the need to fuss with keys, and a door with a lever handle is easier to manipulate than a thumb latch or round knob. Keep this area well lit for safety reasons, too.
Consider having a bench or other landing space outside the entry door to put packages on.
A bench or table on the inside of the entry is a bonus too for those juggling keys, walkers and packages.
Wider doorways and hallways contribute to the accessibility of any home. Aim for a minimum of 32 inches of clear opening. This measurement might need to be adjusted depending on the individual and mobility device. One easy option for retrofitting existing doors to provide the minimum clear opening is to replace existing door hinges with swing-away hinges. These are hinges that allow a door to completely swing away from the opening, creating a wider passage; they can be used on doors 30 inches or wider. A door smaller than 30 inches wide would not comply with the minimum clear opening of 32 inches.
Pocket doors can also minimize door swings, but they require more remodeling work than swing-away hinges do. The Modernus Roto door reduces swing space by 40 percent and has only a 30 percent force requirement for ADA accessibility.
Wider hallways and turn zones allow individuals with wheelchairs to easily turn and navigate. Aim for a minimum of 5 feet wide on average; however, some in motorized chairs will need a more generous 7 feet radius to turn their chairs.
A Main Floor Half Bath
A powder room on the main level embraces accessibility. Aim for ample floor space for easy navigation. While the door on this quaint powder room swings in, ample floor space means a wheelchair can still navigate it. The light switch is also lower for ease of use. A pocket door in this room would completely free up floor space for easy transfer to the toilet.
This vanity allows for a front approach as well as a side approach to access the wall-mounted faucets. It has ample room underneath for wheelchair users, too.
As our population ages, it becomes more vital to take different levels of ability into account when building or renovating our homes. By incorporating universal design elements into a new home or renovation project you can not only increase your number of potential buyers if you sell your home later on, but it will make your home more accessible to you if you find yourself having mobility problems later in life.
Universal design isn't designed specifically to be a home style for disabled or elderly residents however. The purpose behind the philosophy is that the designs are to work well for everyone, no matter their ability level, from the very young to the very old. Many of the differences that would be important in a universally designed home would be overlooked by someone without any disability. However, it is amazing what a difference that small changes can make in someone's day to day life.
One of the most important aspects of universal design is that of the entrance way. It is essential that at least one entrance way into the house be at ground level to make it easily accessible to anyone, including those with mobility problems. Along with the entrance height of the entrance way, it is important to ensure that the doors and halls in the house are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and allow it to navigate through the house. The bathroom is also a vital area that requires enough space for wheelchair accessibility as well as certain other safety features. At least one bathroom on the main floor of the house should be set up with a wheelchair in mind. It should have a raised toilet, lowered countertops, and a curb-less shower for easy entry. Non-slip floors in the bathroom, particularly the shower area are also beneficial.
Most of the design changes that would be needed to make your house more universal design friendly are things like making space for a wheelchair to maneuver, large rocker switches, lever door handles, loop-style drawer and cupboard pulls, and other easy design choices that have an eye toward being use able by everyone. It's not hard to remodel your house with some universal design elements, try to keep the principles in mind when planning your new home or renovation for best finished results.
***Survey your own home (literally) and let us know what you would change for universal design features to Stay at Home!
When universal design is mentioned, people often ask whether it makes sense for them personally. They wonder what the term means and if their home will have visual and market appeal, cost more to build or remodel, increase in value, or enhance their family’s safety, comfort and convenience. Many buyers focus on the moment and consider only their current age, family size, physical abilities and day to day activities—even though they want homes that will keep up with them through whatever change life brings, whether that change is having children, aging, or injury. The purpose of this survey is to help people anticipate and plan for their current or future housing needs and budgets. Each of these groups may find the survey particularly useful:
Here is the survey for you to take and send us your results:
The bathroom is one of the first areas that needs to be remodeled in order for homeowners to stay at home. Why not avoid the hassle and add features to your bathroom now that can easily be adapted down the road for aging in place? Below are two different bathroom features that are great options for bathroom remodels that are universal designed while being aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
The first is a shower from Sterling that “evolves” as the needs arise. The Accord shower comes with a moveable seat can be added whenever the homeowner would like. Add it now and it is ideal for shaving and relaxing. Add it later and it is perfect if the homeowner cannot stand for a longer period of time or uses a walker. The Accord shower also comes grab bar ready, so grab bars can be easily installed when the homeowner needs or wants them. The brackets can be adjusted for installation so they can be mounted on studs or preinstalled backboards. This shower is a great option for those homeowners who would like to add safety and accessibly features down the road.
The “Elevance Rising Wall Bath” tub by Kohler is another feature that will add comfort, accessibility, and beauty to your bathroom. It meets ADA guidelines without being institutional looking and meets the goal of helping homeowners enjoy independent living for as long as possible. Below are some of the highlights about the Elevance bathtub. There is also a video on the Kohler website that demonstrates how to use the bathtub.
A recent family reunion to celebrate Grandmas 90th Birthday got me thinking:
How can we make Grandma more comfortable as she remains in her own home?
During our family reunion trip to see Grandma- My grandma said numerous times every day, "I don't ever want to go to a nursing home". Home is where most folks feel comfortable, their lives are filled with daily routines. When the routine is broken, there is a breakdown of spirit and happiness for many. Hearing and seeing my Grandma go through her daily routines and being a member of the National Aging In Place Council organization, I wanted to focus our weekly "Stay at Home" blog on how to keep Grandma (or anyone for that matter) comfortable in their own homes as they age.
Below are some things to pay attention to when helping a loved one or neighbor "Stay at Home" comfortably and safely:
1) Medication management: this is teh number #1 reason that people can not stay in their own home and need to move to assisted living. One solution is to purchase an automatic pill dispenser that is locked until meds are dispensed at set times. A loud alarm and blinking light let's people know it's time for their meds. This item can be purchased for only $69.95 at www.rmmedicalsales.com/pill-reminder.html
2) Food: Upon inspection of Grandma's fridge, there was nothing fresh-in fact many expired items and half eaten food filled her fridge. A daily or bi-wekly care giver visit would go a long way to keeping up healthy eating habits.
3) Care Giver: There are many avenues to find a local care giver. Check with the national Aging in Place for quality organizations at www.naipc.org
4) Laundry: Unclutter all the items that go unused for a year or more! Education or "re education" on how to properly use the washer and dryer may be needed. Services can take out and launder or care givers can assist with laundy in the home.
5) Wandering Wristbands: these items are a must if there are any signs of dementia. They are worn like a regular wrist watch, are surprisingly affordable and can be found at: www.mediband.com/.../2008/01/17/wristbands-for-dementia-patients
6) Communication devices: Cell phones and I Pads etc... are a great way to keep in touch with Grandma or your loved one. Technology is changing rapidly and it's easy to have a face to face chat from long distance.
7) Construction Services: Light remodeling, small ramps, neutral thresholds, non slip flooring, improved plumbing fixtures, door and cabinet hardware, new appliances and much more can be a blessing in keeping Grandma navigating around her home. In Minnesota or Wisconsin, contact Lake Country Builders at www.lakecountrybuilders.com for these and more construction services.
8) Estate planners, lawyers and mortgage specialists: Sooner rather than later is the time to think about these services!
Conclusion: It's been said that most people take more time to plan a vacation than the aging of loved ones or themselves. Take action now to help Grandma stay in her own home safe and comfortably. The average cost of assisted living facilities can be $10,000 per month or more.
Whether you are 4 or 84, motion sensors faucets are a wonderful and quick addition to make your kitchen a more accessible kitchen. The motion sensors make the faucet convenient and easy to turn on and off. With a quick hand motion, one can turn the water on or off – which is helpful if your hands are full with dishes, you are suffering from arthritis, or your hands are dirty from working in the garden. There is also a sensor that will turn on and off the water when it sensors an object; this feature is great for little ones. You can also use the faucet like a traditional faucet. The multiple features make these faucets perfect for all users.
For more information on the Moen Hands-Free Faucet watch the video below or visit their website.
CareNextion is a program and interactive online guide to helping aid communication between caregivers. (https://carenextion.org) Both caregivers as well as those in need can find helpful public forums, resources, education as well as interactive program to aid communication.
Once registered, the website enables caregivers to schedule everything from visits, meetings, reminders, doctor appointments etc. and updates everyone actively with emails when someone confirms. Especially with the modern family sometimes spread out throughout the country, active and updated information in regards to giving care can easily . This allows cross communication to all care team members and assures that Mow or Dad gets to that check up.
Log on and give it a try!!
Lake Country Builders is an active member of the NAIPC.
The National Aging in Place Council is a senior support network. We work together to solve your problems. NAIPC was founded on the belief that an overwhelming majority of older Americans want to remain in their homes for as long as possible, but lack awareness of home and community-based services that make independent living possible. The Minneapolis, Minnesota organization is one of fourteen throughout the country.
Most Americans do not make a plan to age in place, although you should start thinking about one before you plan to retire. Creating a plan can prevent unexpected events from turning into crises that compromise one's ability to live independently. Most people spend more time and effort planning a vacation then their aging future!
Just as many of us made a plan to go to college, we should have a plan to age. In planning for college, we knew what school we would attend, approximately what we would spend on books and tuition, where we would live and what we would do for transportation. A plan to age needs to be just as detailed and just as common.
If that is your goal, we urge you to take advantage of our senior support network. Our members are experts in healthcare, financial services, elder law, design and home remodeling. We are dedicated to helping meet the needs of our aging population, and assist you so that you can remain independent in the housing of your choice.
Your Senior Support Network
They call them the Golden Years - and they should be just that. Your work is mostly behind you, your children are grown up and your life should be comfortable. We are here to help you.
Aging in Place is your senior support network. We are a collaborative group of professional service providers who are thinking about your future and your happiness.
The NAIPC will assist you to stay in your residence whatever the developments in your lives, to take care of your spouse or partner, to plan your finances, to have an open and cooperative relationship with your grown children and to find solutions for any inconvenience or problem you may confront.
Sample of our many and diverse Service Providers:
Daily Money Managers
Emergency Response Services
Home Accessibility Consultants
Interior Design/Home Remodeling: Lake Country Builders
Lifestyle Transition Services
Real Estate Services
Reverse Mortgages/Home Financing
The Stay At Home Blog is dedicated to improving knowledge and education regarding aging in place and to creating a safe living environment for seniors who choose to live at home.