Home Sweet Home for Life

Adapting a home for aging in place is a sound investment—and a lot easier on maturing bodies.

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An elevator requires a space about 5 feet square, according to Dan Hartnett, whose company, Silverside Contracting, Inc., did the home addition. Hartnett recently completed a 12-by-14 foot, three-story addition on a Newark home to add a small amount of living space, plus an elevator that goes from the basement to the second floor, where the homeowners, Steve Masters and Margaret Sarner, have their bedroom.

Like the rest of the new space, the office is well-lit with electric and natural light. Photograph by Thom Thompson“Neither of us is getting any younger, and Margaret has problems with her knees,” Masters says. “But we didn’t relish the idea of having to move just because we can’t do stairs anymore, so we decided to put in the elevator.”

Masters says he and Margaret love the location of their home, which is “kind of in the woods” in an area near Del. 72 and Possum Park Road. “We can sit on the porch and see deer going through the yard, and a family of foxes lives nearby,” he says.

Hartnett often builds additions that add a first-floor master bedroom to a home. “A lot of people are just comfortable in their homes. They choose to put money into their existing home rather than move elsewhere,” he says.

People should realize that getting older does not mean they have to leave the home and the neighborhood they love, Wilkins says. Adaptations both large and small can be made to make a person’s present home more livable as they age. Handrails can be added to stairs and hallways to help a person balance. Grab bars can be installed near tubs and toilets.

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