For most older homeowners, there’s no place like home. The comfort, familiarity and memories that our homes provide are invaluable. As we age, however, our abilities and needs change and impact our living environments. That’s where the concept of “aging in place” comes in.

Aging in place simply refers to the ability to live in your own home and community safely, independently and comfortably regardless of age, income or ability level. It’s about ensuring that you can continue to enjoy your golden years in the place you love most.

Understanding Aging in Place

Aging in place means making necessary modifications to your home to accommodate your changing needs as you grow older. This could entail anything from installing grab bars in the bathroom to lowering countertops in the kitchen.

According to a 2021 AARP survey, 77% of Americans aged 50 and over prefer to remain in their current residences as they age. This trend reflects a growing desire among seniors to maintain their independence and quality of life as they grow older.

The impact of aging in place on seniors’ well-being is profound. The ability to continue living in familiar surroundings can help maintain mental health, while performing daily tasks independently can significantly boost confidence and self-esteem.

The Need for Home Modifications

As we age, our physical abilities often decline. Tasks that were once simple can become challenging or even dangerous without proper precautions. That’s why home modifications are a critical part of aging in place.

Common age-related challenges include reduced mobility, diminished balance and coordination, and decreased strength. These challenges can make ordinary activities like climbing stairs or reaching high shelves risky without appropriate modifications.

Without necessary modifications, seniors risk accidents at home — a leading cause of injury among older adults. For example, slippery bathroom floors can lead to falls, while high kitchen shelves can result in strain injuries.

Types of Aging-in-Place Home Modifications

There are various modifications that can make a home safer and more comfortable for seniors. Below is an overview of some common ones:

Bathroom Modifications

Grab bars can provide extra support when using the toilet or shower. Walk-in tubs allow for easy access without having to step over a high edge. Non-slip flooring can prevent falls.

Kitchen Modifications

Lowered countertops and pull-out shelves make food preparation easier by reducing the need for reaching or bending.

General Home Modifications

Ramps and stairlifts help overcome mobility issues related to stairs. Widened doorways facilitate navigation through the house with walkers or wheelchairs.

Hiring Professionals Vs. DIY Modifications

While some modifications can be simple DIY projects, others may require professional assistance. While it can also be more costly, hiring professionals ensures that modifications are done correctly and safely.

When choosing between professional and DIY modifications, consider factors like cost, time, complexity of the project, and your own abilities. Our home modification experts recommend hiring professionals for any work involving plumbing, electrical wiring, carpentry, or structural projects.

Funding for Home Modifications

The cost of home modifications varies widely depending on the scope and complexity of the project. Fortunately, several resources and programs exist to help cover these costs.

Medicare or Medicaid may cover certain modifications like stairlifts or walk-in tubs under specific circumstances. Local area agencies may also offer grants or loans for home modification projects. 

Planning and budgeting are key when considering home modifications. Start by assessing what modifications are necessary now and which ones might become necessary in the future. Contact our team at Omicelo Health for additional guidance.

Omicelo Health Can Help With Home Modifications

If you’re considering aging in place and need help with home modifications, Omicelo Health is here for you. As a Pennsylvania-based organization committed to helping homeowners age in place comfortably and safely, we can provide insights about choosing, buying, and installing a wide variety of accessibility solutions for the home.

Contact us today for more details on how we can assist you in making your golden years truly golden — right at home.