Should She Stay, or Should She Go? Aging in Place with MDG

Should She Stay, or Should She Go?

Posted by Bridget McMullin on June 27, 2018

Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean your house has to age at the same pace.

After her husband’s passing, our client was presented with a dilemma: should she renovate her home or move?  She favored remaining in the home long-term, but was worried about her safety as she aged.

Her house had been paid off and she didn’t want to “outstrip” the neighborhood. But she also knew that if she moved, she would pay a considerable amount for all new finishes and upgrades. So, she hired the team at MDG to make the decision to stay easier.

As certified “Aging-in-Place” specialists, our team has predicted that these types of issues will only grow more prevalent as the population ages. Boomers are starting to contemplate the next 20 years of their life and many are realizing that a space in that comfortable retirement community is a lot more expensive than they thought. Foregoing an early move to a retirement community could help save a considerable amount of money over time, and that leads many to turn to specialists like our team to make their home more accommodating of the transition from active adult to retiree.

We drew upon our experience in usability and aesthetics to come up with this list of pros and cons for remaining in her current home:


  • The house was paid off.
  • The neighborhood was desirable as a starter home community.
  • A fully renovated home would fetch a good price and sell quickly.
  • The house already had a lift chair installed.
  • Our client loved her home and the neighborhood.


  • The house was two stories.
  • The house did not have a first-floor bathroom.
  • The second-story bathroom was not handicap accessible.

MDG took on the task of Master Planning a solution to the “cons.” Our goal was to make the house safe for her for as long as possible. We felt that with the proper planning she could get another 10 to 15 years out of the home:

  • We created a first-floor powder room for easier access
  • We space-planned the areas to make it easier to navigate the spaces with a walker or other ambulatory aid.
  • We added recessed lighting to create a bright an airy environment. Lighting is one of the easiest changes for a home and it can improve the quality of life for aging inhabitants almost immediately.
  • We used contrasting color palettes to make delineation of objects easier over time.
  • Though we could not change the footprint of the upstairs bathroom, we did create a shower area with a bench and hand-held shower for use in the future.

A unique byproduct of working with a designer who is also a certified aging-in-place specialist, is that these functional changes were not done in a vacuum. We considered the aesthetics of these changes as well as their utility, making the resulting changes as attractive and seamless as possible.

The overall cost of the renovation was considerable as we addressed every interior and exterior surface. It was imperative that the house be sale-ready as our client wanted to be able to put the house on the market and sell quickly should plans change.

By picking tried-and-true finishes on materials that are known for easy maintenance and upkeep, we created a design that appeals to both the client and any future buyers.

The result was beyond our client’s dreams. Our client’s once-limited home has been issued a new lease on life.

The newly designed open floor plan makes her home feel both large and airy, a departure from the compartmentalized layout of the past. The new layout now incorporates the front porch, which had been a lost space in the old layout. The new finishes and the expanded storage allow for easy organization and clean-up.

The two-year process coincided with a culling of items acquired over the decades. Now free of clutter, our client feels ready and engaged to step into the next phase of her life.

Bridget McMullin is a certified Aging-in-Place specialist and can help you prepare your living space for the next 20 years of your life, too!