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Continued: The new retirement: Housing

  • Article by: KATY READ , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 7, 2013 - 1:00 AM

Bathroom. Grab bars needn’t look like those in hospitals, Dworsky said; they now come in sturdy but stylish designs. If you’re working on your bathroom but don’t need grab bars installed, plan ahead by reinforcing the walls where they would go. “I ask my clients, ‘Where would you need a grab bar?’ That’s where we’ll put it,” she said.

Consider a “comfort height” toilet or wall-hung toilet (the latter requires in-wall plumbing). Choose a no-threshold or low-threshold shower with a door that’s at least 36 inches wide; special brackets let the door open all the way to widen the space.

“You want some sort of seating in the shower, whether it’s removable or flip-down,” Dworsky said. “And always a hand-held shower, in case you’re ever not able to stand up.”

General. Single-handle faucets and lever-style door handles are easier to manipulate.

Minimize furniture clutter by using pieces “that do double duty,” such as ottomans with interior storage, or decorative screens that can be used for privacy and space dividing.

Keep floor coverings flat and carpet-heights low. Falls are a major source of at-home injuries among older people. Minimize tripping hazards by allowing no more than half an inch difference in floor-covering heights.

“Edit and get rid of clutter,” Dworsky advised. “Give it to your grandchildren, nieces, nephews, your church or synagogue. Donate it — it makes you feel better.”

Katy Read • 612-673-4583

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