Housing Decisions During and Post COVID-19

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Aging in Place: Housing Decisions During and Post COVID-19

The current COVID pandemic has affected much of our lives, with some effects extending further than anyone could have imagined. Our time spent stuck at home, for one, has led to home renovations once again becoming a huge business focus in Canada as a result of many seniors deciding to stay where they are, or families coming together to form multi-generational homes.

On top of homeowners looking to create equity while ensuring comfort and style, these changes have also come about as increasing focus is placed on making renovations to last an entire lifetime, therefore allowing more seniors than ever to age in place safely and comfortably.

Though it has gained momentum as a result of the pandemic, the trend of “aging in place” has actually been around for a while. This is understandable, as, for the average family or individual, an investment made into a home is expected to last the duration of their life and beyond. However, when circumstances change, a home may become more of an obstacle than a place of rest, shelter and enjoyment. For many people, a home is also their sole source of equity, or perhaps their entire pool of retirement savings, which means leaving is not an option.

No matter the circumstances that lead to seniors aging in place, solutions must be found to ensure they are able to do so safely and comfortably. So, what do these solutions involve?

Futureproofing a home: Design for aging

In recent years, a term has come about to describe the changes made to a home designed to last a lifetime. This term is “futureproofing” – the practice of removing barriers and hazards before they become a problem in preparation for an active, healthy, comfortable future.
design for aging
This concept also applies the principles of Universal Design, which state that when a home is designed with everyone in mind, every member of the household will be able to access and utilize all elements of a home throughout its lifespan. However, in practice, these principles seem somewhat idealistic. Though they have been put into practice in many countries, they don’t always address the practical side of construction, finances or family needs outside the house, such as neighbourhood amenities, which means there’s still a lot to be done, both by societies and individuals, to make homes senior-friendly.

A Common Aging in Place Myth

Although there is a general awareness of the need to plan for the future in construction, and even make changes to a home throughout a lifetime, one common misconception has stopped many people from making the changes they need to keep them safe. This myth is that doing so would reduce the value of their beloved real estate. The good news is, this is simply not the case, and adding a residential elevator, for example, can actually increase re-sale value.

Aging in place solutions

A home elevator, or Homelift, is a common example of a modification made to a home to allow its residents to move around safely and in comfort.
shaftless home elevator

 Installing one generally involves employing the services of professionals who have experience in dealing with the individual needs of the elevator’s future users and the specific construction elements involved with the installation of special equipment, including lift devices or residential elevators. However, far more than simply employing technicians, the process of choosing the right home elevator – one that will give residents with reduced mobility the freedom of movement to use their home to its full extent once again – must involve input from professionals with expertise in the effects of aging, and a senior’s ability to interact with their environment as their needs change: occupational therapists.

The technical considerations of installing a Homelift

Beyond meeting the mobility needs of a home’s residents, installing a home elevator also requires certain technical specifications to be met, which can sometimes become the most significant challenge outside of the financial budget in a home renovation. Though these specifications are often not as extensive as clients expect, they can certainly be a determining factor in the initial stages of a project.

The key aspects to keep in mind all come down to the pre-existing architecture of the home and the areas that need to be made accessible. The grade of the house, number of stairways, location of plumbing, kitchen, and other major components of the home can make planning difficult. However, as a freestanding structure that does not require a hoistway or shaft, a Homelift is more adaptable than most people think, making it a solution worth exploring for anyone interested in futureproofing their home. A qualified Homelift consultant will help with the coordination and all the planning, making this an easy process.

Ensuring accessibility in the home

Whether a Homelift is the best solution or not, ensuring that all areas of the home are accessible and made safe is essential for anyone choosing to age in place. As such, mobility experts and technical experts should come together to design the most appropriate solution, moulded to each individual’s needs. The contractor, designer, OT and special equipment vendor (such as Homelift companies), as well as external support teams, all have a crucial part to play.
Staying in one’s home where memories are powerful, where routine assists with day-to-day practices and where the support of the neighbourhood are the end goal of this team of professionals, who will work to ensure each senior is kept safe as they make their decision to stay.
accessibility home
Brian Granger profile

Brian Granger


To learn more about our Homelifts or these financial programs, contact Brian today for your free in-home consultation to see if a Homelift is the right product for you to ensure you can stay in your home for as long you want.

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