Historically, homes were not designed for aging in place. When the sanctuary we called home for decades and where we created a lifetime of memories is unable to accommodate the accessibility challenges we experience with age, families can be devastated and home can be abandoned. 

Fortunately, a growing list of relatively easy home modifications can make most older homes accessible, providing new levels of mobility, safety, and independence for countless people who would choose to remain in their homes — aging in place — if they could. 

Should you move? Or should you remodel? Learn more to explore your options. 

Remodeling for Your Mobility

One of the key reasons for home modifications is to make a house accessible to the residents throughout their lives. Whether a person needs to be able to reach cupboards, countertops, or sinks or needs a clear path to various rooms and areas throughout the home, there are options that make it possible to move more freely and safely throughout your home. 

Stairlifts. Navigating stairs can be difficult or even impossible for many older adults. Stairlifts provide a safe and convenient way to move up and down stairs. Most stairlifts can be installed directly on top of your existing stairways and can be customized to fit turns, curves, or extended landings. 

Lifts. When a stairlift isn’t enough to move you or your family member between floors, an elevator lift can help. Most commonly used by those in a wheelchair, lifts can be installed inside or outside to provide mobility in multi-level homes. 

Ramps. Even one or two steps might be too much of a barrier for some people to be able to move freely throughout their home. Ramps come in a wide variety of styles and materials and can be easily installed indoors or outdoors. Ramps can make it possible for family, friends and guests to enter, exit, and move freely throughout the house. 

Remodeling for Your Safety

Being able to live in your home safely without worrying about accidents is a top priority. It’s wise — and increasingly popular — to upgrade your home with safety modifications to ensure your or your loved ones’ well-being. 

The bathroom remains one of the most common areas in the home where accidents can occur. Slippery, hard surfaces are often the culprit, but they can be fixed with a few simple solutions, including: 

Grab bars. Installing grab bars in a bathroom — by the toilet or sink or in the shower and bathtub — have become almost as ordinary as the fixtures themselves. They give any user a chance to be stable as they move about the bathroom. They also assist in getting up or down.  

Slip-free surfaces. Wet tile and porcelain are notoriously slippery. Carpet and rugs are not practical solutions for bathrooms, but you can install slip-free flooring and apply grip-friendly tape to especially slick surfaces. 

• Lighting. Seeing in the dark can be challenging for anyone, and as we age, inability to see our path can be particularly dangerous. Numerous products are available that can make maneuvering your house at night much safer, including lighted switches, low-energy night lights, and motion-activated lighting. 

Chimes. When it’s important to know where your family members are in the home (for example, Alzheimer’s patients who may forget where they are or be unsure of the time), door chimes are a helpful alert for location and safety. 

Remodeling for Your Independence

Even a healthy, mobile older adult may need help with certain activities, and there are home modifications that can help.

• Automated modifications. We live in an age when many of our most common home activities can be automated. From turning the lights off and on to water faucet motion controls, these types of upgrades make it even easier for older adults to function on their own. Many new appliances such as ovens and washing machines come with handy automations, as well. 

• Room remodeling. More open floor plans, wider doors, and shorter hallways are all types of improvements that can turn an existing home into a haven for self-care. 

• Universal design. Universal design is an approach to building homes that takes into account every possible user. It’s an ingenious approach to ensuring that any home — whether new or remodeled — can accommodate any level of ability and provide new heights in individual freedom.

Getting Started with Home Remodeling for Older Adults

Thankfully, you don’t have to navigate home remodeling on your own. Contact us today to learn the many ways we can provide support and assistance to anyone who chooses to age in place.