5/3/2012 9:59:00 PM Ask the contractor Home improvements to help seniors can be lifesavers
By SANDY GRIFFIS Executive Director Yavapai County Contractors Association
Q: I am a senior living in Prescott Valley and want to make improvements to our home to plan for our senior years. What are some key improvements that we should consider making?-Ed and Martha, Prescott Valley
A: I have heard it said they are called the "golden years," and they should be just that. Your work is mostly behind you, your children are grown up, and your life should be comfortable. A significant concern as people grow older is that they may have to leave their home.
The aging process is blamed for many problems seniors may encounter with daily activities. However, quite often, it is the home that creates the difficulties. Most residential housing is geared to healthy adults. Builders in the past did not take into account age-related conditions such as reduced mobility or limited range of reach. Hence, dwellings do not support the physical and sensory changes that older adults encounter as they age. We all want to maintain our independence as we age, while still being able to function in our homes and get around easier and more importantly stay in our homes longer.
The most popular home improvements for seniors focus on safety and accessibility and are relatively easy and cost effective and some of these popular improvements are:
Grab bars in the bathrooms and showers
Levered doorknobs and faucets
Portable shower seats
Moveable shower heads in case someone must sit while showering
Widen doorways to allow wheelchairs
Handrails on both sides of stairwells
Handrails on porches
Even though we do not like to admit it, we are all aging. So if you can't bounce up and down the steps, or grip and pull like you once could, the above modifications to your home will help you enjoy life.
There was an article in a newspaper a few weeks back about a company that was fined and charged with using false, misleading and deceptive sales practices. The complaint alleged the company sold elderly consumers equipment they did not need nor could they afford. Almost 30 percent of Prescott's population is 65 years and older and approximately 18 percent of Prescott Valley's population is 65 and older.
Here are some consumer tips to follow:
Obtain a written contract that spells out the price of the equipment, installation, warranties, tax and other costs or credits promised by the company.
Do not sign a contract unless you are satisfied.
Ask questions and do not be afraid to turn away a salesman if you are not interested in purchasing the product.
Remember, you have three days to cancel a contract. The company should include instructions on how to cancel the contract.
Do not believe companies that use scare tactics when discussing the safety of equipment.
Yavapai County Contractors Association is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or through www.ycca.org. The 34th annual YCCA Home Garden Show is coming to Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, May 18-20. Admission is free.