The garage is one of the more under-utilized areas of any home, and it can also be one of the most dangerous for seniors. Dust, clutter, and stumbling block accumulate in most garages, making them either useless or difficult to navigate. If you’re looking to age in place, on of the key elements for success is having as much of your home as possible on one single floor, minimizing the need to go up and down the stairs as often. A garage can be an invaluable space when trying to achieve this goal, but making it accessible and ready is something that should ideally be done before you need it. Here are 5 ways to make your garage an asset as you age.
1. Clean It Out
First thing’s first, in order to make your garage accessible, you have to clear it of clutter. None of the other additions on this list will make your garage any safer if it’s full to the brim with things you don’t need. Going through all of your things can be taxing and time-consuming, so it’s best to do this as soon as possible, and ideally during a time of year where being in your garage is not uncomfortable.
2. The Safety Of Your Driveway Starts With The Entrance
Almost all homes have paths that lead to the entryway of the garage. The surface of this path needs to be smooth. Any holes or cracks pose a potential hazard for falling or impeding the movement of walkers and wheelchairs. If you live in a location where the winter is particularly difficult, having a handrail that goes along your driveway is a great way to help with getting in and out of your home.
3. Flooring In Your Garage
Concrete is not the safest option for garage flooring. If you live in a climate that’s very dry, you shouldn’t have much of a problem, but smooth concrete and become slippery when wet, which poses a risk for seniors who live in cold and rainy climates. Rigid plastic tiles are a great option to make your garage safer to traverse, and they are easy to install on your own if possible.
4. Install Automatic Lighting
When you’re looking to make your home an easy place as you age, the most critical, and cost-effective way to do it is to ensure that all of your spaces have automatic lighting, and the garage is no exception. Often, garages have one light switch that is either right at its door, or close to the entrance to the house. Neither of these is ideal. Motion-activated lighting systems allow you to go through your garage without having to worry about tripping over something when you’re looking for the lights.
5. Add An Accessible Storage System
Garage storage systems that go up to the ceiling and require ladders are basically useless if you have any sort of mobility issue. Having open wall-hanging storage makes your items easily accessible and allows you to see your items without having to search for them, and garage cabinets that are installed at the proper height make it easy to access your stored items without bending down.
Whether you’re in the process of renovating or just thinking about what you’ll need to make your home accessible, garage space that works for you can be a tremendous asset for your home.