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Home-Accessibility Modifications for Seniors

Beth Bowers

Beth currently lives in Shelby Township with her husband, Brian, and two kids, Sophie and Sawyer...

Beth currently lives in Shelby Township with her husband, Brian, and two kids, Sophie and Sawyer...

May 8 5 minutes read

We are pleased to share a guest blog with you today. Jim Vogel started ElderAction.org as a means to provide resources to seniors and to adult children and caregivers who are caring for senior parents. He is passionate about spreading awareness to improve senior living. 


How to Manage Home-Accessibility Modifications for Seniors

As adults transition into their senior years, their home may no longer accommodate the senior’s changing needs. Fortunately, a few home-accessibility modifications can be made so that the senior in your life can continue to live in the comfort of their home. Here are a few tips to consider before you start the modification process.

Assess each room

Based on your loved one’s needs, the first thing you need to do is assess every room in their home to see what modifications will need to be made. If they have limited mobility or will be using a wheelchair to get around, then the doorways and entrances will likely need to be widened. When you’re doing your assessment, ask the following questions: Can they reach things like switches, plugs, doors, and cabinets? Are the countertops at a comfortable level? Can they sit while preparing a meal?

As you look from room to room, your number one concern should be safety. Take note of what needs to be changed in order to be accessible and safe for your senior to use. You will also need to consider outdoor updates. For example, you may need to install a ramp by the front entrance.

After you have looked around their home and determined what needs to be updated, you will now need to decide if you will be doing these projects yourself or if you will hire a contractor. While you may be great with DIY projects, for safety reasons and to avoid costly mistakes, it’s best to hire a contractor for labor-intensive or highly technical projects.

Projects you can take on yourself would include installing grab bars in the bathroom and a built-in seat for the shower. You may also be able to lower countertops, change knobs, and rid the home of clutter.

To find the perfect contractor for a job, ask your friends and other family members who have had similar work done for recommendations. Be sure to interview at least three contractors and get a bid from each person. For an accurate estimate, specify which materials you would like to use, and do your homework by finding out the cost of those materials before they get marked up. Also keep in mind that the cheapest estimate may not always be the best option. The most skilled contractors tend to cost more. Once you’ve selected a contractor, keep the lines of communication open to ensure that the job is done correctly.

Benefits of aging in place

Moving your senior loved one to an assisted living facility or nursing home may seem like the easiest option, but that move will more than likely be met with resistance. As adults grow older, their need for familiarness, stability, and comfort increase. Plucking them from their homes and placing them in an unfamiliar environment causes stress, anxiety, and depression. It also can lead to a severe case of senior isolation. For these reasons, many seniors are preferring to stay home as they grow older, for as long as they are able. This concept is called “aging in place,” and it is a widely growing trend that is a healthy and safe alternative to other housing options.

Making a few home modifications to ensure the safety and well-being of your senior will give you peace of mind. Also, your loved one will appreciate being able to hold onto their independence for a bit longer!

Photo By Matthias Zomer (Stock Snap)

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