How to Assess Whether a Home Can Let Parents Age in Place BY BETH LAWTON
More than 85 percent of people age 65 and older want to stay in their homes and communities as they age, according to research from the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP). Whether they can actually do that safely is a matter of design, money and available services, according to local architects. 50
“With everything that you’re doing to the house, the health and safety of the occupants is always the number one priority,” said Alexandria architect Erin May, who has worked on several home conversion projects for area seniors. We talked to May and Steve Kulinski, principle of Kulinski Group Architects in Alexandria, for information on how to assess whether a home can be converted to allow seniors to age in place and what the occupants need to consider. Horizontal living is always easier to convert, whereas townhome, split-level
alexandrialivingmagazine.com • November / December 2018
homes and historic rowhomes in Old Town can be more difficult due to stairs or narrow rooms, they said. Regardless of the type of home, the first thing a homeowner (and their children or caregivers) should look at is access into and out of the home, according to May. When a resident comes home from the hospital or a doctor’s appointment, they will need to be able to get out of a vehicle at the street or in the driveway, transition onto a flat, level walkway and access whatever means will get them inside their front door, whether that’s a ramp or a mechanical lift.