Staying (Aging) in Place

So. We have decided to stay. We have begun the house modifications, albeit a little sooner than anticipated. A week ago we had a pipe break in an upstairs bathroom. Just hours after a new accessible shower was installed. The pipe didn’t freeze, it just broke, snapped, while I was moving stuff in the vanity. Later that night, it did the same thing to the plumber as he was working. Fortunately the water was off when it happened to him. Another snapped a week later when bumped by a contractor laying a new a floor in the adjacent bathroom. (I think this is bad pipe.)

So, the CPVC in the house has me a bit freaked out and we have started having it replaced. Especially with a big section of living room ceiling missing, it is a lot more cost effective to do that now.

As we consider choices for replacing the living room floor (half of which has been torn out) we have to think about choices that will handle a wheelchair, if needed, without damage. This takes laminates out, and probably all of the snap and click floating floors. This leaves vinyl, tile, and hardwood (glued or nailed). If I could find our existing tile it would probably be an easy decision to use tile, but alas it is no longer made. Bamboo is probably the winner.

Meanwhile, the upstairs bathrooms have much wider doors. Wide enough to get a walker through. We are still considering quotes on the chair lift and thinking about geometry and cost. It is not a big house, although now somewhat bigger than we need, and areas like the entryway are small and the footprint of a chair lift has to be carefully considered to avoid obstructing wheelchair access.

The big project will be to slightly enlarge the small downstairs bathroom and make it wheelchair accessible. We have a plan and it is reasonable in cost and approach. We are also considering other modifications to the kitchen to help ensure she is able to easily self-manage when I am not around.

Throughout all of this I have begun to learn about the concepts of “aging in place” and “visitability.”  We also think a lot about furniture layout and how traditional homebuilding practices do not enhance accessibility.

I also learned that Virginia offers up to a $5,000 for permanent visitability adaptations for new construction and modifications to existing structures. It is the “Livable Home Tax Credit.”

I think this will all work out. I hope.

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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