|Please note: Original article published May 19, 2017 by Paula Span of The New Old Age in The New York Times. Shared on FB by IDeA and posted here because it is a relevant read...|
“All the carpets are coming up, so they won’t be a trip hazard,” said Ernie MacNeill, walking through the split-level house in Fair Lawn, N.J., that he is remodeling for a client who struggles to walk.
Mr. MacNeill also plans to widen a bathroom door to provide better access for a wheelchair or walker. “We’ll knock this closet back,” he added. The home’s owner, Elliot Goldberg, 71, currently has to transfer from one stair lift to another to reach his third-level bedroom and bath. Moving the second-floor closet will make space for a new lift that can turn the corner and proceed upstairs, a far safer configuration.
Mr. Goldberg, a Vietnam veteran with multiple health problems, has lived on this quiet suburban street for 30 years. His wife died four years ago, but he shares the house with their daughter and grandson.
He could move to a single-floor apartment or an assisted living facility, but like most older people, he wants to stay put. “I have a lot of good memories here,” he said.
So he turned to Mr. MacNeill, a longtime contractor in nearby Pine Brook. In 2014, Mr. MacNeill took a three-day course through the National Association of Home Builders to become a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, or CAPS.