More seniors are choosing to age in place than ever before. This trend is driven in part by the rising costs of long-term care, coupled with the rapidly growing senior population as the Baby Boomer generation ages – a generation that’s enjoying a more active, vibrant lifestyle than previous generations. Technology and wider availability of services, such as home meal delivery services, are making it easier for older adults to remain in their own homes independently, as well.
While it may not be possible for an older adult to live independently forever, there are many changes that can be made to a home to make it safer and more functional for them to remain in their own homes longer. By implementing home modifications that support aging in place, today’s seniors are able to maintain their independence, and in the long run, may save a substantial amount of money on senior living.
Below, you’ll find 10 top tips on home modifications that support aging in place that ensure the safety of the home for older adults. Some are simple adjustments, while others are larger scale projects – but all will make a home more accommodating as a person ages.
Fort Rock Construction, Inc. serves homeowners throughout the Eugene and Springfield areas and we can help remodel your home to safely accommodate aging in place. Give us a call today at 541-767-1611.
Guest Blog by Kent Elliot
A 2016 report published by Home Advisor revealed that a majority of aging Americans — 61 percent, in fact — want to age in place rather than seek a place in an assisted living or some other senior facility. The 2016 report indicated that seniors want to remain at home to be near their families or to maintain their independence. However, in many cases, aging in place is only possible with home modifications that allow older adults to care for themselves, or which make it easier for another to provide assistance. Modifications are often necessary to aid mobility, accessibility, and safety so a senior can remain at home with minimal risk of injury.
Accessibility modifications include widening doorways to at least 36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair, which can be an expensive modification. However, for those on a budget, the addition of expandable door hinges can do the job at a fraction of the cost. Hallways may also require widening. For seniors in a wheelchair or who need a walker, an accessibility ramp may be necessary if there are stairs leading to the front entryway. Also, thick rugs and carpeting present a mobility challenge for wheelchairs, as can uneven transitions between rooms, which may require the use of durable transition ramps.
The bathroom is definitely the most dangerous room for seniors, regardless of age or condition. More seniors fall in the bathroom than in any other part of the home, and as such, it requires extensive safety modifications to protect seniors from being seriously injured in a room where moisture and slick, hard surfaces present a constant threat. This is why grab rails, roll-in tubs, or zero-entry showers (with a place to sit) are also important for mobility-challenged seniors.
Other important bathroom modifications should include an elevated toilet seat and safety rails alongside to avoid falls. Also, don’t forget to lay a skid-resistant mat in front of the toilet, especially if the bathroom floor is covered in tile or laminate. Replace door knobs with levers, which are easier for an older adult to use, particularly in dim lighting where vision and one’s grip are less confident. Install a roll-under sink that’s low enough for a wheelchair, and make sure there’s enough space in the bathroom for a wheelchair to maneuver without difficulty.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a bathroom space should be 30 inches by 48 inches to accommodate a wheelchair. (In Lane County, Oregon, contact our team at Fort Rock Construction about making bathroom modifications in your home.)
It’s a fact of life that one’s eyesight diminishes with age. That can be a dangerous situation for an older adult who wants to age in place because dimly light hallways and rooms with light switches that are difficult to find or reach present a significant safety threat. In general, white bulbs that don’t create glare are good options in poorly lit locations, while motion sensors may be the best idea for seniors who get confused at night and have trouble finding light switches. LED night lights in the bathroom, hallway, and bedroom are also smart preventative measures.
Seniors who are able to age at home are more optimistic and tend to be more physically and socially active than those who need help with day-to-day living. That’s an important factor when you consider the potential impact of an aging Baby Boomer population on the country demographically, politically, and economically. The number of Americans age 65 and over will double by 2050, a group with the potential to have a positive and lasting effect on society.
Whether you have a person living in your home who uses a wheelchair or if you are needing modifications because you plan to age in place, there are a handful of key things to keep in mind for an accessible bathroom remodel.
Before you start drawing up plans, you want to take careful consideration of the following questions:
Once you have some answers to these questions, it's time to start planning. Items requiring plumbing should be tackled first because these are often the most difficult and costly items to change. You'll want to make sure to get these right before you settle on all of the other accessibility details.
Accessible bathing items:
Accessible sink and vanity items:
Accessible toilet items:
Accessible lighting items:
General accessibility safety items:
When it comes to accessibility bathroom remodels, Fort Rock Construction is the company to call. We are certified aging in place exerts and have extensive accessibility remodeling experience for both residential and commercial spaces throughout the Eugene-Springfield area. Give us a call today to discuss your project at 541-767-1611.
Guest Blog by Kent Elliot
How we set up our bedrooms is important. After all, we spend a third of our day in this area, so it deserves some attention. A big mistake many people make is adding too much to the room when the space should be free of clutter and distractions. The bedroom should be a sanctuary of rest where you can leave the stresses of the day at the door.
Doing even a minor remodel on the bedroom can be particularly rewarding when the time comes to sell your house. Not only does a bedroom upgrade boost your home’s aesthetic appeal so it stands out in the market to potential buyers, you can also expect a 40 to 80 percent return on investment for the project. The difference between that 40 and 80 percent has a lot to do with how much you can save when completing the project.
Rip Up Carpet
Out of all the rooms in the house, carpet makes the most sense to have in the bedroom. However, carpet looks outdated and may even be making you sick. Believe it or not, carpet can accumulate as much as 40 pounds of dirt and dust over the short span of a single year. Nasty dust mites live off that dirt, making their homes in your bedroom. Furthermore, the fibers of carpet provide more surface area and crevices to collect harmful bacteria and viruses.
Removing carpet in the bedroom is also a job you can do yourself. It takes minimal equipment—many of the tools you need are ones you probably have on hand already—and a weekend or so to complete, depending on the size of your room. After the carpet is ripped up, you have to decide what to do with the subfloor.
Consider the following:
Clutter is a direct contributor to anxiety and can keep you up at night. Remove any furniture that has to do with work or activity—no desks or exercise equipment in the bedroom. Remove televisions and computers while you’re at it. These electronics emit excessive amounts of blue light that disrupt sleep. Once these items are moved out, you can focus on cutting back on the remaining clutter.
Reducing clutter in the bedroom isn’t just about adding storage—you likely need to go through your belongings and get rid of items that have served their purpose. However, some extra storage solutions can keep things out of sight so you don’t have to deal with so much visual noise.
A bedroom remodel adds a breath of fresh air in an area where we conduct one of our most important healthy habits: sleep. If your bedroom has carpet, rip it up and replace with a more modern hard floor option. Clutter causes anxiety and can prevent you from being able to fall asleep. And while cleaning out belongings is a big part of reducing clutter, installing creative storage solutions can help ensure things stay organized—and be an appealing feature for potential buyers if you ever decide to sell your home.
For assistance with a bedroom remodel, please contact Fort Rock Construction at 541-767-1611. We've been helping Eugene and Springfield homeowners fall in love with their homes since 2001.
When you work from home, having a space that allows you to concentrate and be productive is essential. Sometimes that means taking over an extra bedroom or the dining area in your home. If your workspace is less than ideal, i.e., you've taken over the kitchen table or living room, this blog is for you. It's time to create a space in your home that is both functional and reflective of who you are so you can do your best work. Here are some tips for accomplishing a great work-from-home space.
First, let's consider the nature of your work. Do you participate in a lot of conference calls? Do you need to meet with clients? Do you need space to spread out large documents or other materials? Thinking first about what it is you actually do in the act of performing your job will help in planning out the ideal space for your home office. If you are on lots of phone calls, having a quiet area apart from the hustle and bustle of your family can be helpful. Same goes with if you need to meet with clients, you would probably benefit from a larger space located close to your home's entrance.
Second, consider your desk, shelves, storage, and seating needs. Your furniture should support the work you do, not create the need for you to work around it. For example, think about your workflow and which items you need at your fingertips on a regular basis. If you need to use a large monitor and have a phone, printer, and other objects nearby, that cute little desk probably isn't going to be sufficient. Same holds true if you need to have files or other supplies within reach, you will want a desk option with drawers to accommodate these items. When selecting furniture, your best bet for long-term satisfaction are collections with lots of configuration options and expansion pieces. Maybe the budget doesn't allow you to get everything at once, but when you're ready, coordinating pieces will be available.
Third, your ideal workspace should reflect who you are and keep you motivated. This is where color and decoration play a significant role in your home office renovation. For instance, forget the standard "office beige" and instead paint your walls a color that you enjoy. Don't worry about what is "on trend" as paint is one of the easiest things to change and it's more important that you're happy in your space. If you don't like the color of your office, you're less likely to do your work there. And, be sure to fill your space with decor that makes you happy — everything from plants to artwork to pictures and more help to create a unique and welcoming space.
Fourth, lighting is a huge factor for creating a functional and enjoyable workspace. Whether your light comes from a natural source (a bright window) or from ceiling/floor lamps, make sure you have plenty to meet your needs. But don't settle for boring lighting options. There are great pendant and chandelier options that can really transform a room from "meh" to "ooh la la" without much fuss.
Fifth, be the ruler of your office and conquer every square foot available to you for storage and general organization. Think vertically and horizontally. Floating shelves can offer storage solutions for smaller items, and custom built-in shelving and bookcases can accommodate larger or heavier items. Built-in storage options are also great if you are one who likes everything to be accessible but not necessarily seen until needed and there are many versatile options available to meet your exact specifications.
Last, but not least, make sure your home office is wired to meet your technology needs. Does the office have enough outlets and, more importantly, in the places where you need them? Do you have adequate plugs for wired internet connections? Are your outlets surge protected so your computer equipment won't be damaged when the power fluctuates or goes out?
At Fort Rock Construction, we have helped many homeowners in the Eugene and Springfield area with home renovations and home remodels so they can work from home. This has included bedroom conversions, living room conversions, garage conversions, home additions, and reclaiming unused attic and basement space to create livable and workable areas. If you are interested in learning more about the options for your home, please give us a call at 541-767-1611. We would be happy to help with your home office renovation.
With the holidays upon us, you might find yourself looking at your home with a mix of feelings — Is my home ready for company? Can I accommodate all of my guests? Is it finally time to tackle that renovation we've been talking about? And, when we think about the kitchen — the center of almost all holiday gathering — that's when we start to fret if everything is how we want it.
Looking around your kitchen, how do you feel? If you have been delaying a kitchen remodel until the time is “just right”, the holidays often provide the motivation for taking action. Imagine how much easier and more festive your holiday season could be with a beautiful new kitchen designed to be more efficient, energy-conscious and welcoming.
While it's a tad too late for this holiday season, it is the perfect time to think about and plan for next year. You can go into this holiday season with a purpose, however — observe and note what works in your kitchen and what would you like to see done differently. Sometimes being aware "in the moment" makes us realize the details we might overlook at other times of the year.
Here are some ideas for how the holidays can inspire your kitchen remodel:
Storage and Organization
An organized kitchen makes all the difference when it comes to preparing meals for larger groups which we tend to have over during the holiday season. Imagine what new storage, innovative drawer systems, and slide out or stand alone pantries could do in your kitchen to cut down on the time it takes to find the right tool while you’re cooking and the right serving ware and dinnerware when you’re ready to set the holiday table.
Today’s appliances offer a combination of sleek built-in design and innovative energy-efficiency. Both trends mean you can have that extra large refrigerator or stove you’ve been dreaming about without detracting from your overall room design or adding significantly to your energy bill. Beyond the fridge, stove and dishwasher, consider appliances that make entertaining a breeze and everyday life a little more luxurious, such as a built-in espresso machine or wine cooler.
A Gathering Place
Perhaps most important for a kitchen remodel design, especially during the holidays, is that the room provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages people to gather together. Space planning is essential when it comes to this aspect of designing your new kitchen, as well as thinking about the lighting for any gathering or working spaces in your kitchen. Having lights specific to different purposes and places can enhance the atmosphere and make your guests feel comfortable.
If you’re inspired to start planning your kitchen remodel for the holidays, now is the time to get started. Note all the ways your kitchen design and appliances are working for you and make a list of what could be improved, moved, or removed. Then, give us a call and let's start planning. If you live in the Eugene-Springfield, Oregon area, the team at Fort Rock Construction is here for your kitchen remodel! 541-767-1611
If you're looking to add extra living space to your home, converting your garage can be a good solution. Garages can be turned into playrooms, mother/father-in-law quarters, media rooms, extra bedrooms, and so much more. But, before you begin this type of home remodel, there are several things you'll want to consider to ensure the project goes smoothly.
1. Assess your garage for potential issues. Most garages are not designed with living space in mind. Because of this, you may need to take a look at the electrical, insulation, egress to and from the main house, as well as the walls and floors to make sure there are no structural issues like buckling, leaks or cracks, subsidence, or sloping.
2. Make sure you are allowed to have a garage conversion. It's not uncommon for homes within homeowners associations to have rules within their CC&Rs that prohibit certain home modifications. Avoid a headache and look into this ahead of time if your home is part of an HOA. Aside from HOA governance, your home might also be subject to certain zoning restrictions. Checking with your city or county's planning department can help you determine if a garage conversion is permissible and if permits are required.
3. Plan out how you will want to use the converted garage. Because of the time, expense, and often permits that are involved with a garage conversion, it's important to plan out how you are going to use the space. This will mean hiring an architect or contractor to draw up floor plans that can be submitted with permit applications. Also, knowing what the space can be used for will be helpful when you go to sell your home. For instance, planning ahead for a bedroom can add more value in the eyes of a buyer than perhaps a man cave or other general use space.
4. Have a realistic budget. Most homeowners don't generally have a sense of the expense involved with a garage conversion. Typically budgets are underestimated since the garage is an already existing structure. However, there are still items that can significantly impact your budget if you don't plan for them up front. These expenses include items like waterproofing, insulation, laying a new floor, running electrical or plumbing, adding windows, and then the finishing touches like cabinetry, fixtures, wall finishing, hardwood or carpet, etc.
Many homeowners choose to tackle a garage conversion on their own. However, it is a good idea to involve a general contractor who has experience in this type of project and who knows the current building codes.
If you choose to hire a contractor, look for someone who routinely performs the type of work you want to have done. A handyman might have relevant construction skills, but might not be aware of the required building codes or have the labor force to get the garage conversion done in a timely manner.
Lastly, depending on your garage conversion, you may also need to hire an engineer. Working with a general contractor will make sure the proper professionals are involved with the project so everything is built properly and to code.
If you live in the Eugene-Springfield area, please give the team at Fort Rock Construction a call at 541-767-1611. Our general contractor team has been helping homeowners with new construction and home remodels since 2001.
The University of Oregon's Spencerview Apartment complex wanted to build an outdoor basketball court for its residents as a memorial for one of the children that lived there. We worked with a local concrete company and together, we removed parts of the play area, clearing out space for the new court. The finished project will add years of enjoyment for residents.
If you have a commercial construction project in the Eugene or Springfield area, please give us a call. We are commercial contractors with extensive experience working with local businesses. 541-767-1611
Not all homes are blessed with large spacious kitchens. If your kitchen lacks square footage, there are still plenty of ways you can maximize your space and satisfy your storage needs. Here are five great ways to add storage to your small kitchen.
1. Add shelving under your island countertop. Whether you have a true island or a peninsula, look to see if you have room to add a shelf. This makes a great space to store things like plates, placemats, and other table setting items.
2. Add cubbies around your kitchen entrance. With this idea, you can turn the typically wasted narrow space into useful storage. The narrow cubbies are excellent for vases, cookbooks, and more.
3. Install toekick drawers. No matter how big or small your kitchen is, toekick drawers are an absolute must. They transform previously unused space into the perfect storage for a short stack of pans, cookie sheets, linens, or pantry items.
4. Build a pantry between the studs. If you don't have space to build out, build in. With a small kitchen, adding cabinetry can make the area feel crowded, however, utilizing the space between studs can be just the answer. Pantry built-ins are great for spices, tea boxes, and other smaller items.
5. Utilize the space above your refrigerator. Too often the space about refrigerators either goes unused, or it's horribly unorganized. Adding shelving above your refrigerator can be just the answer for your larger items like pots, cutting boards, etc.
If your small kitchen is ready for an upgrade or if you have dreams of increasing its footprint, give us a call. We're kitchen remodel experts in the Eugene and Springfield area. Give Fort Rock Construction a call today at 541-767-1611.
Guest Blog by Kent Elliot
Aging in place is gaining in popularity among baby boomers, many of whom prefer the comforts of home to assisted-living facilities. However, this requires a number of modifications to prevent accidents and ensure their dwelling is safe. Among the most important is improved lighting, which can not only prevent accidents related to poor vision but also gives a boost to mobility and overall quality of life. If you’re planning to enjoy your golden years where you’ve always lived, here are a few things to do.
Study Your Options
Lumens, watts, CFLs, LEDs, ambient and task lighting. That seems like a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo, but you need to know what it means if you’re going to provide the right illumination throughout your home. To get started on the basics, lumens refers to the amount of light that a bulb sheds, and the higher the number, the brighter it is. Watts, meanwhile, is the amount of energy that the bulb uses.
Get Enough Ambient Light
This is general background lighting coming from a fixture on the ceiling. You’re looking for evenness in rooms and hallways as older eyes tend to be less responsive to changes in level. According to Luvozo, which provides services to senior living communities, 30 lumens per square foot is the right amount for ease of mobility and preventing falls.
Maximize Task Lighting
Small lamps on tables and desks provide the light you need for reading without squinting your eyes to see the fine print. Consider ones with LED bulbs that don’t need to be changed as often, which reduces the risk that you’ll burn yourself in the process. There are even models available that allow you to alter the color temperature and avoid frequencies that disturb your sleep.
Brighten Up the Bathroom
Roughly 80 percent of older adults experience a fall because of the slippery surfaces. However, several accidents can be reduced by making sure the bathroom is well lit. First off, keep the switch on the exterior to avoid having to enter and feel around for it in the dark. As for the interior, an expert tells Professional Remodeler magazine that 75 to 100 watts of illumination should do the trick.
Cut Risks in the Kitchen
This is another area that requires special attention as not seeing whether the oven is on or off can have disastrous consequences. The folks at Progress Lighting recommend layered lighting to compensate for any decreases in vision as well as cabinet task lights to keep your eyes focused clearly on the chopping board while you’re slicing and dicing.
Pay Attention to Stairways
Around 12,000 people die each year falling down stairs, which are particularly dangerous for the elderly. Besides, brightening them up makes it easier to get up and down late at night and early in the morning without any undue strain on your eyes. The easiest solution is having an electrician install bright lights at the bottom as well as the top to reach each and every step.
Add Style to Your Living Room
You should consider your overall comfort while you’re reading, watching TV and entertaining guests. Add a source of ambient light like a chandelier or pendant in addition to a few accent lamps in your living room, which can draw attention to your favorite decorations.
Explore High-Tech Solutions
The smart home revolution makes it easier for seniors to stay at home in comfort and convenience. Imagine motion sensors that turn lights on automatically in the hallway when you head to the bathroom late at night. That can be yours as well as full control over all the lighting throughout the home via smartphone so you’re not fumbling for a switch when you walk in.
Making these adjustments to your home might take some time and energy, but it’s the bright thing to do for your own safety and comfort as well as that of the rest of your family.
For assistance with an aging in place remodel for your home, please contact Fort Rock Construction at 541-767-1611. We're certified aging in place experts and serve homeowners throughout the Eugene-Springfield area.
Tricks of the construction trade, inspiration for your next project, and highlights of completed projects.