When Blaise McDonald was a boy, he saw dad Ed undertake MAC Renovations’ first ‘aging in place’ renovation.
The client? Blaise’s grandpa, a Second World War veteran who was moving into a suite in the family home. It was the perfect solution, not only for Blaise – delighted to have grandpa so close – but also for his grandfather, who enjoyed the benefits of a home that was familiar and in the neighbourhood he loved, and that was designed to accommodate any mobility issues and other age-related challenges.
“We’ve been helping people ‘age in place’ for many years,” explains Blaise. “When we’re looking at a renovation project, we’re considering if it’s a home they’ll live in for 10 years or 30 years, and what that might look like.”
Here’s a look at how you can live longer in the home you love:
Immediate needs: For those with immediate needs, MAC Renovations works closely with an occupational therapist to determine what adaptations will best suit the homeowners’ unique needs. “The nice thing about working with an occupational therapist is they can ask the right questions – they have that specialized training I don’t,” Blaise says.
Transitional spaces: Whether it’s a place to transition to the shower or water closet, or space to move from the car to a wheelchair, a designer can help you think about how you’ll use your home now and in the future, Blaise says, noting that in all their bathroom renovations, MAC automatically builds in extra framing to accommodate future grab bars. “We do some sort of aging in place in almost every renovation we do.”
Room to move: An open floorplan is more than trendy; it also makes a lot of sense for moving easily about a space when you might have mobility challenges, Blaise notes. For homes with multiple floors, larger renovations can also allow for measures like an elevator, which can be disguised behind a closet door, for example.
Design features: Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference, such as using levers, rather than door knobs for someone with arthritis, or raising the electrical plugs to require less bending.
Space for caregivers: Building in some flexible space can also accommodate future needs. What might be a teen space or a student suite today could be adapted for a caregiver down the road,” Blaise suggests.