“How Important Is A Large Budget For Aging In Place Improvements?”

Adding lever handles to both exterior and interior doors is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to create more accessibility for either renter or owner-occupied homes

Budget isn’t everything

Often, people feel that they need a lot of money to make substantial improvements to the dwelling to make it more accessible for themselves. While making substantial improvements may require more money than simpler renovations, it does not take a huge budget to make a home safer and more accessible. There are several renovations that fit this description.

Rather than asking how much money a person should plan on investing for planned or desired aging in place improvements, or conversely, thinking that they can’t do anything because they don’t have the money to do the improvements they would like to make with their home, they should consider what they can do. A large budget is nice but not essential for getting started.

Helping them to get started

While some of us may not be the ones to help people get started because our business model is designed around larger projects, the fact is that very simple, modest fixes with a correspondingly low price tag can be done.

If we don’t undertake such a project, someone can do this, and we need to think creatively about what can be done so that we are prepared to have a conversation with people in need when they contact us.

Even if we refer this to someone better prepared to handle it, we need to be ready to discuss reasonable alternatives with the potential client and assure them that they can participate in having aging in place improvements done for them and their homes – especially ones involving safety or convenience.

There’s a wide range of prices

As is true with many products in the marketplace – from computers to autos to household items – there is a tremendous range of products, solutions, and price points. Of course, there are varying features and benefits available, but generally, something can be done.

This means that someone with a limited budget can still have a lever door handle for their front door and for other doors in their home at an entry-level or reasonable price – providing comfort, convenience, and safety for them as well as enhancing accessibility. Higher budgets can choose from an array of styles and finishes and pick something that suits their design tastes, but the basic product is what counts in this case.

The same is true with lever faucets. There is a range of prices and features including ones with spray attachments that pull out and sensors that turn the water on when desired. A simple lever faucet is all that is required for enhanced comfort, convenience, and accessibility. Features are not as important as the basic design.

There are many solutions available

As for light switches or digital thermostats, these can be switched out to create a universal design that is appealing and functional for those living in the home and anyone else who enters. Older style toggle light switches (controls) that have the little protrusion that must be pushed up or down to control the lights are not easy for everyone to use and have been replaced in many homes and businesses with the rocker style switch.

Changes such as light switches, door handles, door pulls, lightbulbs, and similar easy fixes require very little budget and can be down throughout the client’s home to make their living environment easier to use and reduce the amount of effort required to use such features. If the budget is so limited to the point that the entire home cannot be done at one time, do a few of the most used areas in the home (living room, kitchen, bath, and bedroom, for instance). Then the others can be added later as the budget allows.

Don’t overlook the importance of lighting

Another easy fix that is relatively inexpensive to do is lighting. The LED bulbs have dropped in price, but again there are various grades available. Still, it’s possible to replace older-style incandescent bulbs, CFLs, fluorescent tubes, and halogen bulbs with much safer, cooler, and tremendously more efficient LED bulbs. Some of these bulbs are rated to over 20 years life expectancy which, in many cases, means giving someone a lifetime bulb that never needs to be replaced by them. It also eliminates the need for keeping an extra supply on hand.

There are so many styles of LED lighting available that we can brighten the living environment of any home, even if we aren’t able to complete the entire home due to budgetary constraints. There are disks, strips, ropes, cans, bulbs, and other styles for use inside cabinets, under them, on top of them, in ceilings, in toe-kick recesses, and along baseboards. They can be switched, motion-activated, or photosensitive to come on when it’s dark enough to need them. They also can be left on continuously due to their relatively low energy consumption.

Large budgets are not required

Aging in place renovations, solutions, and improvements definitely are not limited to sizeable budgets and do not exclude people with only a little to spend on such projects. The amount of work that can be done and the type of it may be somewhat limited with a modest budget, but there is no reason to suggest that fixed or lower-income households cannot have their homes made safer and more accessible in some way.

There are many ways, and price points, to approach renovations that make sense for the end-user.

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