Aging in Place: 9 Home Modifications You Should Consider


Living in an assisted community offers convenience and luxury, but not everyone wishes to relocate solely due to aging. Factors like increased life expectancy, enhanced education levels, and greater job opportunities in later life have encouraged more individuals to stay in their current homes while they grow older.

There are many other reasons, like remaining in your cherished home, surrounded by familiar neighborhoods and family while avoiding the steep costs of senior living communities.

However, as you age, your home may no longer offer the same comfort or accessibility it once did. The bedroom once suited for a 15-year-old might not suffice at 35, and the dwelling that worked at 35 might not be adequate at 50. This is why houses must adapt as we age.

Although the thought of aging in a home initially not designed for long-term care can be daunting, numerous solutions exist that empower you to maintain independence while residing there.

  1. Bathroom Remodelling

The bathroom is a focal point for numerous essential home modifications. One viable option is replacing the traditional bathtub with a walk-in shower or tub, offering considerably easier and safer access than a conventional bathtub. You may also install a detachable shower head for improved cleaning and showering experience.

For those who wish to retain their existing bathtub or have budget constraints, there are cost-effective modifications to enhance bathtub safety and reduce the risk of falls and slips. One way is to add a safety bar to the bathtub, while another is to install safety strips. You may also opt for elevated toilet seats and relocate your toiletries to a readily accessible, easy-to-reach location.

When considering these modifications, you can search online with specific keywords like bathroom remodeling experts near me and select a reputable, experienced local contractor for high-end results.

  1. Enhance Illumination

One unexpected hazard for older adults within their homes is inadequate lighting. Dimmer lighting poses challenges as we age. Hence, consider home adaptations for aging in place, such as using brighter bulbs with a higher wattage to brighten rooms without additional fixtures naturally. Moreover, focus on incorporating task-specific lighting in key areas like near the kitchen sink, the shower, and above your bed.

Nighttime visibility is also crucial. Therefore, incorporate wall-mounted night lights throughout your home to navigate safely. This simple modification is particularly vital in the kitchen and bathroom, ensuring you can move confidently during nighttime trips to the restroom or for a midnight snack.

  1. Ensure Stair Safety

Prioritizing staircase adjustments ranks high among essential home modifications for seniors. Stairs can pose substantial risks due to steep or narrow steps, uneven thresholds, and slippery surfaces. A minor stumble can lead to severe consequences. Hence, ensure that your stairs feature robust handrails that span the entire staircase, including outdoor steps.

  1. Declutter and Rearrange Your Living Space

Minimalism is popular, and for a good reason—clutter can adversely affect physical and mental well-being, according to studies. The more clutter present, the higher the likelihood of accidents and the greater the difficulty locating needed items, which can strain your physical health.

This doesn't entail parting with cherished items or sentimental pieces. Instead, concentrate on eliminating things that merely occupy space. This might encompass old clothing, unnecessary furniture, and unused appliances.

While decluttering, restructure your storage areas for improved accessibility. Avoid placing heavy objects on high shelves, as they could potentially fall. Prioritize storing frequently used items at the front for effortless access.

  1. Integrate Smart Home Features

Smart home devices stand out among the remarkable advancements in home-care equipment for older people. Home monitoring systems, video doorbells, intelligent door locks, and automatic climate controls can enhance safety and overall quality of life. You may also opt for voice-activated personal assistant devices that only use your voice to manage your lights, thermostats, showers, and TV.

  1. Flooring Adjustments

Flooring is another essential aspect to consider for older adults seeking home modifications. Firstly, assess the current state of the home's flooring.

If the carpet appears aged, consider replacing it with newer carpeting featuring a shorter nap. Shorter-nap carpeting reduces the likelihood of tripping for seniors and is also well-suited for those using wheelchairs or walkers for mobility. Moreover, throw rugs pose significant tripping hazards. Hence, you may consider replacing them with skid-resistant mats, especially in moisture-prone areas like the kitchen and bathroom. If you opt for slip-resistant flooring, ensure it meets ADA requirements by having a high coefficient of friction (COF) rating.

On the other hand, hardwood, laminate, tile, and vinyl floors offer a smoother surface that may facilitate wheelchair movability but are more slippery as compared to carpeting.

  1. Kitchen Modifications

As individuals age, they might notice that their kitchen appliances aren't ideally positioned and their cabinets and countertops are too high. Hence, it may be necessary to enlist professional contractors' services to lower the height of the counter and sink for improved accessibility. Furthermore, seniors who age in place frequently discover greater convenience when microwaves are situated on microwave stands instead of tucked away at the rear of the counter or within elevated microwave cabinets.

  1. Elevate Your Sleeping Comfort

Rest holds significant importance; therefore, making some cozy home adjustments is crucial to enhance the overall aging experience. This may encompass placing a phone by your bedside for nighttime assistance or connecting with loved ones from the comfort of your bed. You may also opt for a spacious nightstand to accommodate your bedtime necessities. Consider installing bed rails to prevent rolling off the bed and facilitate morning sitting. Additionally, consider adding padding to protect against sharp corners.

  1. Enhanced Seating Solutions

To get up from your cherished armchair in an effortless and comfortable way, consider a self-powered or an electric lifting seat. These seats gently tilt you forward, assisting you in transitioning to a standing position. These seats can be placed on various furniture pieces, including couches, armchairs, or office chairs, providing hours of comfortable sitting.

Final Words

Aging in place indicates the desire for independence, comfort, and familiarity. By addressing key areas like lighting, flooring, bathroom accessibility, and seating comfort, you can transform your home into a haven that accommodates your evolving needs and enhances your daily life. The goal is to live in your home as you age and thrive in it.

Remember, the decision to age in place is personal, and these modifications are designed to make that choice viable and fulfilling. Whether considering these changes for yourself or a loved one, the ultimate aim is to ensure that the place you call home remains a source of comfort, security, and joy for years to come.