29 Nov Home Remodeling Ideas for Seniors
The majority of people plan to remain in their homes as they age. According to a 2012 survey conducted by AARP, about 90% of seniors noted they intended to stay in their current homes for the next several years. The ability to function in your home safely is one of the most important factors in determining how long you can stay there. Consequently, adapting your home to meet your needs as you age makes sense. Remodeling will not only enhance a home’s market value, but these improvements will make day-to-day living easier and safer.
Furthermore, making appropriate adaptations to your home can prevent a fall (one of the most common home accidents) which can ultimately take away your independence. In fact, Injury Facts 2017 (a statistical report on unintentional injuries created by the National Safety Council) notes falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for adults age 65 and older. More than 33,000 people died from falls in 2015, and the vast majority of them were over age 65.
Home Remodeling Tips
Entrance: If there are stairs leading to the main entrance of your home, consider building a ramp to allow accessibility for a wheelchair, walker, or someone with limited mobility. Install handrails on both sides. A ramp will not only make entering the home easier but it will also help reduce the risk of a fall from stairs.
Bathrooms: Bathrooms are one of the most dangerous rooms in the home for seniors. Walking on slippery, hard surfaces, getting in and out of a bathtub or shower, and using the toilet can lead to thousands of fatal and nonfatal injuries every year.
- Use non-slip adhesive strips or a mat in the bath or shower.
- Install grab bars in the tub, shower, and near the toilet.
- Install a stable shower seat.
- Use a low profile, non-skid bath mat. A traditional bath mat can eventually lose its non-skid backing from repeated washings. Try using a kitchen mat instead.
- Hire a bath remodeling company or contractor to install aging and accessibility solutions including converting a standard bathtub to a safe, accessible walk-in type.
Stairs: Ideally, it is best for seniors to live in a home in which there are no stairs. However, if you must climb stairs, install handrails on both sides of the stairway for increased stability. Consider putting in LED lights at the base of each stair to provide illumination. Install a chair lift which gives people with limited mobility the ability to remain in a two-story home. Generally, the cost is about $3,000 to $4,000 and lifts can fit a straight or curved shape stairway. While expensive, this is less than the cost of adding an elevator to a home which runs about $20,000.
Other Improvements: Widen doorways to 32 inches to accommodate a wheelchair. Change out all round doorknobs and faucet handles to lever type handles for an easier grasp.