“Aging in place” has been a buzz word since 2011. That’s the year the AARP published a study confirming that the majority of seniors prefer to live in their own homes as they age. A quick Google search of the phrase turns up more than 300 million hits. To be sure, there are countless resources for seniors who want to remain in their own homes as they age, from the National Aging in Place council to our own Aging and Accessibilities services. But is it really something you want to think about at age 50 or even 60?
According to one source, the average age of an ‘empty nester’ is just 49 years old. And this Fast Company article found that the potential for high-functioning brain activity peaks in our 50s. Thinking or talking about ‘aging in place’ when you’re at the height of your career or before you pull the posters down from your college kid’s bedroom walls feels a bit premature, doesn’t it?
What might feel right, though, after decades of raising kids, climbing the corporate ladder, and considering everyone else’s needs before your own, is creating a space that puts your needs and desires front and center. Sound appealing? You’re not alone. According to another survey, 43% of soon-to-be empty nesters plan to redecorate or downsize. If you’re daydreaming about it, here are 5 pro tips that can help you plan and prioritize.
Pro Remodeling Tip #1 Splurge on the good stuff
At this stage in your life, you can tell the difference between well-made and so-so materials, you’ve worked hard to achieve your success, and your budget might allow for a splurge now and then. High-end materials can get expensive, but the smaller square footage of a bathroom means you can upgrade without racking up a huge bill. So, if you’ve always dreamed of marble countertops, penny-tile flooring, or a granite-surround, walk-in steam shower, now might be the time to bring that dream to life!
Pro Remodeling Tip #2 Make time for what’s important
At this stage, life becomes busy in a whole new way. Instead of playing taxi driver and spending your evenings at the little league park or soccer field, you might be traveling more, spending time with family and friends, starting a new career, or building a business. You probably don’t want to spend your Saturdays scrubbing the bathroom! Choose low maintenance materials that don’t require constant attention. Seamless shower surrounds prevent mold growth and do away with grout lines, nonporous vanity tops keep germs from breeding, and self-cleaning toilets do the hard work for you so you can get back to enjoying the best years of your life.
Pro Remodeling Tip #3 Use technology to your advantage
These days it seems like everything is smart. Doors unlock with an app, your coffee starts brewing before you stumble out of bed, and eco-friendly shower systems ensure your water is the perfect temperature before you step in. These aren’t just toys for technology’s sake. These are tools that can make you more comfortable, free up more time, and even save you money on energy bills. Advances in smart tech are constantly evolving, so if it’s been a hot minute since you’ve checked out the latest smart home accessories, have a look! You might be surprised at how practical they’ve become.
Pro Remodeling Tip #4 Protect your health
Let’s face it, you might wake up with a few little aches and pains in the morning, especially after an active day. Ignoring it won’t make you younger, but giving your tired, sore muscles a break might make you feel like you’ve shaved a few years off! You might not be able to visit a luxury spa on the daily, but you can create a spa-like vibe in your own bathroom with the right products and accessories. Consider a horizontal shower that integrates water massage and personalized hydrotherapy to improve blood circulation and relax muscles. Upgrade your exhaust fan to draw moisture, humidity, odors, and other pollutants out and improve the quality of air inside your home. See all 24 ideas for improving your health and wellness here.
Pro Remodeling Tip #5 Plan ahead
With all the things you do today (eating well, exercising) so that you can live healthier tomorrow, it makes sense to put systems in place to protect your wellbeing in the event of a surgery or illness. That doesn’t mean installing clunky aftermarket safety devices. What it does mean is integrating thoughtful design elements that can come in handy now and down the road. Things like motion-activated nightlights, lever-style handles, and slip-resistant flooring. Even if you have limited mobility, you don’t have to sacrifice style; modern walk-in bathtubs combine the best of form and function. Look for options that incorporate heating pads, jets, quick-flow drains, and grab bars for extra support and comfort. Speaking of grab bars, the latest styles are sleek and stylish and can be installed as towel bars to serve double duty in your bathroom.
These years are some of the most active and exciting of your life! Put yourself first with a bathroom remodel that’s designed for your needs and wants. Want to learn more? Schedule a free in-home design consultation.