Among America’s seniors one theme remains constant – a desire to age in place, to stay home as long as one can. Can you blame them? Home is where the heart is. However trouble arises when mobility becomes limited and physical functioning creates challenges. The dream home a person bought twenty years ago may be just the opposite when one ages. Perhaps the hallways are too narrow for a walker or wheelchair. Perhaps the shower is impossible to get in and out of. Perhaps there are no grab bars in the bathroom or room to maneuver. Perhaps there are far too many stairs to get inside.
Home modifications can be costly, but when weighed against the cost of residential care, chances are high the modifications will see comparatively cheap, particularly when the happiness of staying home is factored into the equation. Small changes may mean staying in one’s home another 3-5 years or even longer. Those in the home remodeling business are finding increased work in this area as America’s population grows older. Opportunities abound for niche home remodeling services that cater to older adults seeking to make home more comfortable and safe.
Some of the most popular home modifications include:
- building wheelchair ramps to get into a home or to move within the house
- installing grab bars around the toilet and in the shower
- installing a toilet that sits high to make getting on and off easier, sometimes called “comfort height”
- installing hand held shower heads
- getting a stove with control knobs at the stove’s front
- installing a walk-in shower with seat
- removing carpets that limit mobility and create tripping hazards
- changing door knobs to levers which are easier to move
- moving basic living needs to the first floor, like a bedroom, large bathroom and laundry
- widening doorways to allow for movement of wheelchairs
If you need more information on home remodeling design for seniors, try your local AARP office or your Area Agency on Aging by visiting the Resources by State page.