Key Highlights

  • According to survey by AARP, 75% of adults 50 years and older prefer to remain in their homes
  • Home modifications in any condo or single-family home anywhere in country enable older adults to “remain in place”
  • Less expensive to age in place compared to living in senior communities

As adults live longer in better health, more adults are preferring and choosing to live in their homes/condominiums as they age. To help your aging clients maintain their lifestyle, community involvements, respective business/career activities, and proximity to established friendships for as long as possible, suggest they make some of the improvements/modifications mentioned below to help make their daily tasks and lives a bit easier.

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(These improvements/modifications are centered around optimal accessibility, convenience and safety designs to help prevent falls and/or serious injury.)

Modifications to Aid Mobility

  1. Balance – install handrails to stairs, hallways, bedrooms and bathrooms
  2. Visibility – upgrade to LED bulbs and consider installing touch-activated lamps in hallways, bedroom and bathroom
  3. Grip and stability – install lever-style door handles
  4. Stair safety – install stair lift as alternative to walking up and down stairs plus light switches at top and bottom of stairs to prevent using stairs in the dark
  5. Light – install automated blinds so light/dark blind adjustments can be done seated
  6. Accessible passageways – create open floor plans and widen doorways and hallways so home navigation can be done with a walker, wheelchair or unassisted
  7. Floor consistency – carpet most forgiving if navigating home unassisted but vinyl, laminate or hardwood flooring more consistent for those with walkers/wheelchairs

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Living Rooms

  1. Safety – remove clutter and rearrange furniture for maximum space to move around room safely
  2. Safety – remove wobbly furniture to prevent falls and add bumpers to sharp edges on remaining furniture
  3. Safety – install anti-slip mats and add anti-slip strips to bottom of rugs to increase traction and reduce tripping

Kitchens

  1. Accessibility – keep everyday use items “tableware, cookware, appliances) between waist and shoulder height to eliminate step stools and crouching
  2. Safety – consider buying stovetop with automatic shut-off feature that detects motion/lack of motion so stove turns off
  3. Safety and health – install hands-free faucet to reduce germ spread and anti-scald device to avoid burns
  4. Accessibility – adjust counter, sink and cabinet heights to enable food prep and washing while seated and install drawers, and pull out shelving
  5. Accessibility – locate oven, sink and refrigerator as close to each other as possible

Bathrooms

  1. Safety – attach adhesive strips to mats in showers/tubs to help prevent slipping
  2. Safety – add non-skid strips on floor to help prevent slipping
  3. Safety – install walk-in bathtub of shower transfer bench to prevent slipping/falling
  4. Safety – install grab bars/rails in tubs and near toilets to enhance mobility and help prevent falling
  5. Safety – install a raised toilet seat to decrease distance between standing and sitting

Home’s Exterior 

  1. Safety – install at least one no-step entry into home and/or replace exterior stairs with removable ramp
  2. Visibility – add exterior lighting and landscape/walkway/stairs lighting
  3. Balance – add handrails on both sides of walkways and stairs
  4. Protection – install security system for sense of security

Upfront costs for aging-in-place modifications/improvements can add up. Long-term expenses of living in a senior community, however, can be much more costly. Check in to home improvement grants, equipment loans, Medicare Advantage, Non-Medicaid Government assistance and Medicaid HCBS Waivers, Veterans programs and non-profit organizations for financial help.

Thanks to Redfin.

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