7 Ways to Help Baby Boomers Age in Place In San Diego

Dr. Deena Stacer
Published on December 15, 2016

7 Ways to Help Baby Boomers Age in Place In San Diego


Many Baby Boomers refuse to call themselves “seniors” especially if they are still enjoying a lifestyle of traveling, swimming, playing in San Diego and working. The word “senior” often conjures up an image of an older person slowing down due to age or health related reasons, and one who may find it hard to motor around on their own.

The idea of selling their home, downsizing and moving into a retirement community or living with family does not appeal to many Baby Boomers. They would rather age in place.

To age in place is defined as a senior choosing to continue living in their own home, as long as they are able to do so safely and in comfort while maintaining or even improving their quality of life. This idea has become a popular lifestyle choice for seniors today who are still young at heart and want to continue enjoying life as long as they can on their own.

Here are 7 Ways to Help A Baby Boomer Age In Place:

As a Baby Boomer, or an adult child or caregiver for a senior, you will want to know what you can do to age in place by modifying the home in a way that keeps you living in the home until you can no longer do so for whatever reason.

Tip 1: Owning a single level home is much easier to manage than a two-story home when you age in place

A single-level home is one of the most important options to age in place because of its conveniences and ease of maintaining. The aging process takes a toll on people. Even younger Baby Boomers may complain that climbing up or down stairs is hard on their knees. Planning in advance now for handling stairs is a good idea so you know what to do if it becomes too difficult to manage as you age.
It may be difficult in San Diego to find a home with a single level, so the next best option would be a two-story home with a bedroom or the ability to make a bedroom on the bottom floor. I did have one buyer who liked the second story home I was selling because of the amazing golf course views from the backyard. He figured out how to install an elevator upstairs where all the bedrooms were located so he could purchase the home!

Tip 2: The width of the hallways need to be wide enough for a wheelchair

Most hallways are 36 inches wide, which is far too narrow for a wheelchair. Knocking out the hallway wall may not be possible in your current home. If you decide to downsize, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) recommends you buy a home with a hallway 42 to 48 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair.
A person seated in a wheelchair requires approximately a 60-inch circle to comfortably change direction within a room. I will add a couple links to the description in this YouTube so you can check out information to help you with these dimensions.

Tip 3: Make the Bathroom Safer when you Age in Place

The Center for Disease Control reports that over 230,000 people are hurt in the bathroom each year, and two-thirds of these happen in the shower.

Follow these recommendations to make your bathroom safer

  • Switch to a single handle faucet that has a hot-limit safety stop on it to avoid scalding;
  • Keep a medical alert button by the toilet in case of emergencies;
  • Create accessible and functional storage in the bathroom to eliminate unnecessary movement and to avoid tripping;
  • Use matte color paints on the walls with contrasting colors to create depth perception, to avoid glare and to better grasp spatial dimensions;
  • Replace the old tub with a walk-in tub/shower combination;
  • Apply non-skid strips or rubber mats to the shower floor. Add grab bars inside the tub for safety;
  • Replace the lower toilet with a taller one.

Tip 4: Update the Kitchen for Seniors so they can Safely Age in Place

Kitchens are the most challenging room in the home for wheelchairs. If you plan to age in place, you may want to consider modifications now in case you need to use a wheelchair in your future.

Here are just a few ways to make the kitchen more friendly for seniors:

  • Make sure cabinet hardware is easy to grip and open;
  • Add at least one 34î tall countertop with room underneath for a wheelchair when doing kitchen chores;
  • Move the dishwasher up by at least one foot from the ground;
  • Add ADA approved faucets to avoid scalding; and easy to reach;
  • Put in rolling drawers and shelves, and add a Lazy Susan for those hard to reach inside cabinets.

AgeInPlace.com offers numerous ideas to help you with remodeling.

Tip 5: Modify the Bedroom to be more Comfortable when You Age in Place

You may want to do any or all of the following to the master bedroom:

  • Install or modify the walk-in closet doorway to the width of at least 36î or more;
  • Lower shelves and clothing bars to reach from a walker or a wheelchair;
  • Lower the light switch inside the closet to 36 to 40î from the floor;
  • Install grab bars next to bed;
  • Install handrails on bed;
  • Adjust the height of the bed;
  • Use a firm mattress to help get in and out more easily:
  • Install rocker light switches (toggle switches) on the walls;
  • Install lighting at the door and next to your bed;
  • Install clapping or sensor lights;
  • Make sure you have at least one night light;
  • Install lights in the hallway on a timer to see your way to the bathroom.

Tip 6: Improve The Lighting to See Better When You Age In Place

Bright lighting is imperative for the safety of the senior. As older eyes change, be sure to get the right type of lighting to avoid issues with glare and shadows. To avoid glare, NARI recommends installing easy-access dimmer switches, pendant lights and under-cabinet lighting.
Decide whether you want to use florescent bulbs or LED bulbs. Your choice can be based upon convenience and the senior ís able to see better with one type of bulb over the other. If you decide to renovate your current home in order to age in place, be sure to use a contractor that holds the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) designation.

If you decide you would rather sell your home and find a home that is area senior proofed, I will be happy to discuss your options with you and help you sell your home and find a home that will meet your needs. Click here for more lighting information for seniors. 

Here is a checklist for the Right Type of Lighting:

  • What size are your windows in each room?
  • Will they need treatments to better manage glare and light?
  • Do you have enough indirect ambient light in each room?
  • Are the rooms free from shadows and glare?
  • Do you have all stairs and steps well lit, to eliminate slips and falls?
  • Do you have your garage and parking area well lit?
  • Is the walkway up to the home well-lit?
  • Does each room have lit rocker switches within easy reach of the doorway?
  • Are your street numbers well lit and easy to see in the dark?
  • Do you have under the cabinet lights in the kitchen and bathroom areas?
  • Are the areas in the home for reading, cooking, bathing and hobbies well lit?

Tip 7: Home Automation to make Life more Efficient when you Age in Place:

In our current world the technology is advancing daily making our lives more convenient and efficient, which makes our homes safer and easier to age in place.

Security systems can be viewed on an app so family members around the world can keep an eye on aging family members through their phones. I will give you a link in the YouTube description for Accurate Security Pros, to check out the amazing systems they offer.

Smartphones allow Baby Boomers to feel safer and more connected to others. Texting, contacting professionals, getting family members on a conference call and getting medical attention can all be done on the phone through an app. The Federal Communications Commission offers Free cell phones for seniors who qualify. This program called Lifeline, check out the qualifications here.

Learn more about San Diego’s Accurate Security Home Security Options, including Smartphone access.

Downsizing and Selling Your Home

If you decide you would rather sell your home and find a new home than to age in place, I will be happy to chat with you about your options, whether you buy or rent, move in with family or relocate to a retirement community. I am happy to help answer all of your questions about selling your home and moving; the costs, the process, the technical steps and the physical labor involved. I can refer you to professionals to help you with the home preparations as well as the moving phase too.

You will never experience any pressure or be obligated to use my services. I know that you are in the information gathering stage and you are not yet ready to move forward until you have all of the information you need to make the right decision.

If you have found this information helpful, be sure to check out more valuable videos by going to YouTube and typing in the magnifying glass search window: Dr Deena Realtor.

Here are 4 examples of videos you can also watch:

Here are 3 resource webpages that offer more articles, videos and links to help educate you about the sale of your home and the move:

  • SellYourHomeForMoreProfit.com
  • 4StressfulPhasesOfSellingYourHome.com
  • BabyBoomerRealEstateTips.com

If you want downloadable e-books about other real estate topics, simply email me at [email protected] for the list of e-books and I will send you the links to these books.

You can search for homes online to buy in San Diego at: SanDiegoSearchForHomes.com

You can get your free home value report on the value of your home, by going to ValueMyHomeNow.com

I love answering your real estate questions and I will not make you feel obligated for any reason. Call or email me at [email protected] or 858-229-8072.  Or you can send me a message at Facebook.com/Dr Deena Realtor

Let Me Help You Sell Your Home

I have successfully worked with families from all walks of life who hired me to sell their home. I have worked with families going through lifestyle transitions, such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, families relocating, as well as downsizing family members due to aging or loss of income. All of them needed my help to sell their home. I am a Baby Boomer. I will also offer you compassion, my expertise, and valuable strategies to help you make sure your sale has the least amount of stress and hassle. I will also guide every step of the way. If you or a family member need assistance selling a home in San Diego, feel free to contact me to answer all of your questions. My email is [email protected] My phone/text is 858-229-8072.

Thank you, talk soon!
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