When we’re designing our dream homes, aging is rarely a factor we consider when selecting furnishings like window coverings. It should be however, especially when the Baby Boomer generation has been at the forefront of the recent rise in home renovation spending! We have beautiful memories in these homes. Where we raised our kids. Where we hosted our first dinner party. There’s comfort in staying in the places we know and love, surrounded by those memories. As we age, our needs can change, and those window coverings we loved so much can become a hardship. Here are some of the concerns to take in mind, and our solutions, for choosing options that will age with you gracefully.
Window Coverings for People with Arthritis
For people with arthritis, everyday tasks can become difficult. Opening and closing window coverings is no exception. With more than 1 in 5 adults, over over 50 million people in this country dealing with the challenges that come with it, it’s definitely a consideration that should be made. This isn’t just a concern with aging, though, 64% of people diagnosed with arthritis in the early 2000s were under 65 years old. One of the challenges that can come with arthritis is the ability to grasp something – without pain, or entirely. Thankfully, multiple options exist that can provide full, easy control over blinds, shades, or draperies regardless of arthritic hand pain.
Controlling Light with Limited Vision
As much as we hate to say it, our vision often degrades as we age. Many thirty-somethings start noticing nighttime driving becomes more challenging, and once we’ve reached our golden years, often it’s a little more than nighttime driving. Whether facing vision limitations or loss of vision entirely, you still want to maintain the ability to control light and associated heat that comes into your home. After all, energy efficient window coverings can literally save you money. But even with simple tasks like reading, many of us find we need more light than we used to to read easily.
Easy-to-Operate & reach window coverings
When we’re younger, leaning over a sink or a couch to grab a cord isn’t a hardship. But if our mobility is reduced from aging, health, or an accident, we may suddenly find we’re unable to reach that shade that was never a problem before. Especially with higher or large windows, a solution that once worked for us may cease to be effective and alternatives may be necessary. Seniors deserve autonomy and control of our homes, and ensuring controls allow that is paramount to confidence as we age.
What smart solutions do you have for window coverings for aging adults?
Lighter Weight Window Coverings
Vertical options create beautiful coverage, even over large windows and doors. With our sophisticated track systems, you’re ensured even vane distribution along with easy and smooth sliding controls.
When making a material selection for other options, going lighter weight is often a good place to start. For example, wooden blinds are heavier and therefore would involve more effort to manually lift than their faux-wood counterpart. Bonus too, faux-wood is easier to clean if minute or repetitive movements pose a challenge. Likewise, sliding panels or a vertical option (sheer verticals are lovely!) would be easier to pull open and closed over a large door or window than traditional draperies. Very large solar and roller shades come with a spring-loaded mechanism in the headrail (top hardware) to aid in lifting as well.
While not related to weight, it’s worth noting certain options for cleaning such as no-holes blinds would allow slats to slide out for simple cleaning as opposed to trying to clean individual slats while still secured to your window. Additionally, you can control blinds by tilting slats as opposed to needing to fully open and close your window covering. This can provide significant autonomy for controlling both light and privacy!
Easy-to-Lift Systems on Window Shades
One of our roller and solar shade control options is the Graber UltraLite Lift System! This allows people to simply very lightly touch the bottom of their shade and it will glide up or down with ease. The pressure from a single finger, or even the back of your hand, is more than sufficient to position the shade however you’d like – no grasping needed. (Though there is an area to grasp if needed, but very little pressure needs to be applied regardless!) With no cords to pull or buttons to push, this is a fantastic solution that makes opening and closing shades a breeze. Stopping at any position you want is as simple as removing any pressure. The shade will stay right where you leave it! For many people, this simple change to the opening mechanism allows plenty of autonomy and very little physical challenge.
Benefits of Shades with Motorized Wand Control
The motorized wand is one that frankly gets overlooked. It’s the sweet middle spot between manual operation and full motorization. It has three simply buttons for up, down, or a home button to go to your favorite, pre-programmed position. This option is available on cellular shades, pleated shades, roller and solar shades! It can also come in white or black, so you can match your aesthetic or provide contrast so it’s easy to see every time.
For charging, you have a choice of a plug-in transformer, a rechargeable battery pack, or a battery case in which you place your own batteries. With a plug-in transformer, there is nothing you need to do to keep it working since it will always have power from your home. Simple! If plugging in a phone isn’t a challenge, a rechargeable battery pack is also an easy solution that eliminates the need for a cord from your shade to an outlet.
One additional benefit is for those who use wheelchairs, longer wands can be ordered to ensure you can reach the controls easily.
Last but not least, this is an incredibly economical solution! Perfect for those with limited budgets.
Motorization of Window Coverings for Aging Adults
Motorization, of course, is always a great option. With so many different ways to control your window coverings, there’s a solution for almost everyone. Use an app on a smart device that takes the touch of a finger. Connect your Alexa or Google Home device and ask it simply with your voice to open or close your shades! You also can have a simple remote control or wall switch (much like a light switch) installed for control. Between apps, remotes, voice activation and more, there are solutions that fit all mobility and ability needs! Even if your vision is limited, you can program schedules to have window coverings automatically open and close. This way, you know your shades are closed in the evening for your privacy, or even closing when the sun is hitting windows directly in order to save money!
Our expert installation team is always happy to help program your motorized control system and teach you how to use it, and our staff is always available for questions.
Work with our Greater Los Angeles area experts to ensure your design solutions will be aging gracefully with you!
While it is simple to choose beautiful styles, to plan a window covering that will take into account unique needs, our team can’t be beat. Our talented design consultants will help you choose the solution that’s perfect for your home. Our expert in-house installation team will ensure you understand all functionality and that it works great for you. Each homeowner is unique, and your solutions should be too! Simply fill out the form below to schedule a free in-home consultation.