Extending Independent Living for Seniors

Michael Sullivan is used to removing barriers for aging homeowners. But the barrier he finds most challenging isn’t actually physical.

“The hardest part is for the homeowner to acknowledge that they are aging,” says the owner of Sullivan Home Improvement Solutions.

It can be difficult to admit that climbing stairs or performing a once-simple household task is more difficult with age. Admitting it, though, is the first step toward a more comfortable living situation.

It’s a conversation Sullivan and his team at Sullivan Home Improvement Solutions has almost daily. The Rockford area’s only Certified Age in Place Specialist (CAPS) contracting company remodels homes so a person can successfully live there well into their golden years.

Modifying the home into a CAPS-friendly space usually begins in the bathroom, where 80% of falls take place, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Sullivan Home Improvement Solutions offers a number of preventive measures, including walk-in bathtubs or safety showers with grab bars, seating and handheld showerheads.

Stairs anywhere represent a serious fall hazard, which Sullivan can address in a number of ways.

“A lot of people have a laundry room downstairs,” says Sullivan. “We can eliminate that challenge by moving the laundry room upstairs.” Another solution is a stair lift, which safely carries individuals up and down a staircase.

A typical Sullivan Home Improvement Solutions project usually takes between three and five days. The remodel also includes a thorough inspection.

Sullivan knows he’s making a difference, one home at a time.

“When I’m at a home show, people will look at my stair lift and say, ‘I don’t need that yet,’” he says. “Nobody wants to feel like they’re getting old, but according to the AARP, 85% of people over 65 want to remain in their homes. That’s what we’re focused on. It’s not just business. It’s personal.”