Home Modifications for Aging In Place: 7 Expert tips on home modifications that support aging in place.
1. Nonslip flooring
A slip-and-fall incident is one of the most common ways that seniors injure themselves. More than one-third of injuries among older adults occur in the bathroom, so make a bathroom's flooring a priority by choosing nonslip material. Your choice of flooring must also be easy to clean in order to maintain a healthy environment.
A number of materials provide traction and cushion, including non-slip vinyl, rubber flooring, and cork, which is typically less than $3 per square foot. Cheaper solutions, such as slip-resistant rugs for around $10 to $15 apiece, may be more cost effective for those on a budget.
2. Slip-resistant shower and tub surfaces
Like flooring, showers and tubs pose an ever-present threat for older residents. Luckily, a number of affordable solutions get the job done. These include nonslip bath mats with suction cups for only $10 or so, nonslip sprays that typically run $20 to $30 and water-resistant adhesives that cost about $40 to $50.
3. Shower and tub design
The shower and bath must be accessible for those aging in place. To accommodate mobility issues and wheelchair access, a low-rise shower with a no-step entry is ideal. Be aware that shower-and-bath combination stalls may require a lot of time and effort for installation.
4. Wide doorways
If you plan to age in place, consider widening doorways and replacing existing doors with larger ones: 32 to 36 inches wide is the recommended width for allowing a wheelchair to pass through easily. For less than $100 in materials cost, you can replace the door with a larger one and doorjambs. There are also Swing Clear hinges that will widen a doorway just a little more.
5. Lever door handles
As we age, our grip strength may be reduced significantly. Replacing doorknobs with a lever door handle — for around $20 to $25 — is a low-cost solution and can also ensure access and privacy to the rooms of the home.
6. One step-free entrance
Stairs present a number of challenges. Being able to enter and leave a home without difficulty is essential for ensuring that you or your loved ones can maintain their independence while staying safe.
Having at least one step-free entrance for the home can be a costly renovation. Depending on the materials and style chosen, this modification can run anywhere from about $1,000 to $4,000, according to HomeAdvisor, which tracks home repair prices nationwide. Despite the cost, a step-free entrance can significantly add to quality of life and may be a true necessity, especially for single people aging in place.
Every second matters in an emergency. One overlooked aspect of aging in place is having obvious address signage outside the front of your home so paramedics and other emergency personnel can respond immediately. Large-size house numbers and mailbox numbers you can see in the dark can make a difference between life and death. Fortunately, such signage is relatively inexpensive, costing about $20 to $40.
Of course, there are more than just seven ways to optimize a home to accommodate you or other aging family members. If you will be living with your parents, other optimal (but optional) multigenerational housing features include:
• Main-floor bedroom suites for the oldest family members
• Private kitchenettes and living spaces
• A one-story home without stairs (that is, no second level)
• Extra floor space — everyone feels less cramped and the additional space is better for people in wheelchairs.
Accessible Home Store can assist clients with products and installs from stair lifts, walk-in bathtubs, automated kitchens, ramps and so much more. People want to preserve their independence no matter what life throws at them, so there is a willingness to invest in their homes to make independence a reality. The prices today for adult communities, assisted living, skilled nursing or long-term care facilities are in the thousands of dollars monthly, it only makes sense to invest the money into the home that is familiar to you, full of memories, or where your children grew up. Remember there is no place like home!