A SCARY DAY
Your mom comes to your home to visit. She’s an active 67-year old lady with lots of spunk and a sparkle in her eyes.
You don’t think of her as being “elderly.” After all, she has tons of energy to help with the kids, bake, walk, and do lots of volunteer work. She visits often and stays in your guest room, sharing a bathroom with your kids.
Then it happens.
As she tries to get out of the bathtub one evening, she doesn’t quite lift her foot high enough to clear the edge of the tub. She can’t catch herself in time and she falls awkwardly and breaks her leg, simultaneously hitting her forehead on the counter as she falls.
The rest of the night is a blur.
The ambulance. The eternal wait in the waiting room at the ER. The surgery. Days in the ICU. A week spent recovering in the hospital. The worry about a bleed on her brain or a stroke. The 6 weeks of rehab. The $120,000 price tag.
Sure she has Medicare, but she didn’t buy Medicare supplemental insurance. And Medicare alone doesn’t pay for everything.
Nothing can make up for the pain, suffering, stress, and lost time. Not to mention the extra weight on your shoulders as you try to take care of her, your kids, your house, her house (that’s 2 hours away), her bills, her medications, and her two dogs.
FALLS ARE BAD NEWS FOR SENIORS.
Falls are the leading cause of death for senior adults age 65 and over. They are also the leading cause of significant injury. That's pretty bad news.
According to the National Council on Aging:
- One out of every four Americans 65 and older falls each year. - Aging.com
The CDC shares this sobering statistic:
- Thirty million older adults fall each year—resulting in about 30,000 deaths.
The average cost for a fall is $30,000.
THE GOOD NEWS IS—FALLS ARE OFTEN PREVENTABLE!
That’s why we are passionate about building homes that help prevent falls for seniors.
DESIGNING YOUR DREAM HOME FOR SAFETY AND FALL-PREVENTION
When you think about your dream home, do you also think about making sure you put measures in place to protect your loved ones—and yourself— from injuries?
One of the most amazing benefits of building a custom home is that you get to design it with your family’s needs and priorities in mind. For today and the future. Custom home design is about beauty, personality, and functionality. It can also be about safety for everyone in the home.
More than ever, people are interested in building a home where they can “age in place” or where families can experience multi-generational living so the family can live together and help each other.
Universal Design is a great place to start as you think about making your new custom home as accessible and easy to navigate as possible for your parents, your in-laws, and maybe, even, for your spouse or yourself one day.
Here are some great safety recommendations to consider in the design phase of your new custom home—before you even start the building process.
Custom Home Safety Tips:
- Minimize steps in the home on the main floor and getting to the main floor from outside, if possible.
- Have at least one master suite on the main floor of the house (or one sizable guest bedroom and adjacent bathroom).
- An alternative to a master suite downstairs could be an office with a closet (that could be easily converted to a bedroom if needed) and an adjoining bathroom with an accessible shower.
- Have a roll-in shower with no step-up in the downstairs bathroom, or at least a walk-in shower with a minimal curb.
- Choose an extra-large shower with a built-in shower bench for seating.
- Choose at least one handheld shower head for the shower, or have two showerheads with one being stationary and the other for a handheld shower.
- Design all staircases so that there are sturdy handrails on each side all the way along the stairs.
- Have cubbies or built-in storage areas in the foyer and mudroom to collect shoes, bags, umbrellas, and backpacks to reduce trip hazards and avoid clutter.
- Plan to have well-lit stairs (with lighting under each stair or lighting along the baseboards of the stairway) and floor-lighting along bedroom hallways.
- Choose non-skid surfaces in showers and tubs.
- Plan to have 36 inch wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.
- Design bathrooms with safety grab bars near the toilet and in showers and tubs.
- Design living spaces to have plenty of outlets, some even on the floor near furniture, so that no one will need to run extension cords across the floor.
- Plan to add rubber stair treads on wooden stairs.
- Avoid carpeting (which can increase the risk of falling) and choose hard floor surfaces with the lowest possible thresholds in doorways to prevent tripping.
- Design for plenty of lighting along the sidewalk, driveway, and patio.
- Plan for plenty of storage so that there is a place for everything and no need for stacks of papers, books, or clutter around high-traffic areas or steps.
- Make sure there are plenty of cabinets that are within reach that don’t require a step stool for access.
- Design at least one entrance of the home to accommodate a wheelchair.
- Design plenty of lighting inside the home so that there are no dark steps, hallways, or areas where it could be difficult to see.
- Maximize natural lighting to help with good visibility.
- Design a multi-generation home so that elderly loved ones don’t have to live alone. They are safer when someone is there to check on them and love on them.
All of these suggestions can help prevent slips, trips, and falls for your loved ones and yourself in the future.
GREATER SAFETY PREPARATION HAS ITS BENEFITS:
- Longer life and more time with your loved ones.
- Better quality of life.
- Greater independence for a longer time.
- A much shorter stay needed in an assisted living facility.
- Lower medical costs.
How May We Help Keep Your Family Happy and Healthy?
We take great pride in building luxury custom homes and have over 100 custom homes under our belts. If you are looking for a custom home builder in the Columbia, SC area, Lee Blythe is a Certified Master Builder with 15 years of experience in the Midlands of South Carolina.
We’d be glad to help you build a stunningly beautiful custom home to fit any accessibility situation. You can design a house plan to fit your specific needs whether you are:
- A family with multiple generations (multiple adult generations with or without young children)
Your parents, your in-laws or your adult children can live with you whether you want to live in the same home or separate living quarters on the same property.
- A younger family with children
You may want to utilize universal design early on so that anyone who may have accessibility issues in the future will have no problems living in the home.
- A family with someone with an existing disability
You already know you need a specially designed home.
- Singles or couples without children
You want to “age in place” gracefully yourself and let this dream home be your home for a lifetime.
- An adult helping your elderly parents design a new custom home.
You want to be sure the house will meet their needs and help protect them.
We are a luxury home builder in areas including Blythewood, Forest Acres, downtown Columbia, West Columbia, Pinewood, Irmo, Ballentine, Chapin, Lexington, SC and more.
We welcome your questions and would love to see if we might be a great fit for you to help turn your dream home into reality.
Contact us today and let’s get started!
RELATED POSTS ON OUR BLOG
FALL PREVENTION RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
Fall Fact Sheet—by www.aging.com
Preventing Falls in Older Adults—by www.aging.com
New Thinking on Avoiding Deadly Falls—by www.AARP.org
Preventing Falls Caregiver Checklist—by www.AARP.org
Check for Safety - by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Postural Hypotension—by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (to help prevent fall injuries for those who feel dizzy when standing up quickly)
How Would You Build Your Dream Custom Home?
There are many things to know as you think about building a custom home. Check out this rundown of things to weigh before you build a new home.
How Long Does Building a House Typically Take?
When you are planning to build a home, a bit of patience is necessary, but the reward of having exactly what you want makes it all worthwhile.
What Are the Hassles of Home Building?
While some hassles are unavoidable, others may be sidestepped if you have the right knowledge and a great team of trusted home builders working with you.