More and more Americans are living longer and as we do so many of us are preferring to remain in our homes as long as we can. This strategy is labeled aging in place. But some homeowners may need to make some adjustments to their homes in order to be able to more easily navigate it as mobility becomes more of an issue.
The official term for making adjustments to your home to be able to age in place is known as home modification according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. These are renovation and remodeling projects geared towards aging adults or those who have become mobility impaired for any reason. It requires physically changing your home to remove potential hazards and making it accessible to continue living independently. Some of the most common modifications include making doorways wider for walkers or wheelchairs and converting a main floor room into the new master suite so that the owner no longer has to climb stairs.
Modifications for aging in place can be expensive especially right now as many of the costs of materials has risen and there are some supply shortages as well as labor shortages. The average cost of home modifications for aging in place can range anywhere from $3000-$15,000. But in some cases, it is an investment well worth making.
Some Simple and Budget-Friendly Home Modifications that can be Done on Your Own
Some modifications do not require a huge overhaul of a home and can be easily done by someone willing to help out an older homeowner preparing to stay in their home for the long haul.
Easy to do it yourself projects can include items like adding easy-grip knobs and pulls to cabinets and doors. Installing adjustable hand-held showerheads. Rearranging furniture for wider areas of passage. Removing trip hazards like floor saddles and carpeting. It could also mean something as simple as installing mats and non-slip floor coverings.
Modifications that May Require a Bit of Help
Some modification projects that more easily help homeowners to age in place are better done with the help of a professional. These include major projects that do not allow for any errors to make sure they are safe. Items like installing handrails, adding more electricity in the form of automatic light fixtures, installing electric push buttons for automatic doors, and installing ramps.
Common Modifications by Room to Aid Aging in Place
Some people preparing to age in place in their home may be wondering what items they can modify or install in their home to better enable someone to do so. There are many ways that you can install convenient features in your home to enable you to live independently for a much longer time.
In the bathroom, you could install grab bars and railing in the shower or tub and around the toilet. You can also choose to go with a walk-in tub or shower as well as install a bench in the shower.
In the kitchen you could change the height level of countertops, opt for new touchless faucets, put pull-out shelves in cabinets, and install new drawer and door pulls that are easier to grip.
In the bedroom, you could opt for a bed that is much easier to get in and out of. One that is closer to the floor. You could install nonslip flooring. Make sure that the walk-in closet is wide open and clutter-free. You could also install a motion-activated light.
Some other modifications that are not room specific include making hallways wider as well as doorways, switching the main bedroom to the first floor, or installing a chairlift on the stairs. You could also install smart window coverings, thermostats, and lighting to make things easier to adjust.
If you plan to sell your home you want to make sure that you are not over modifying it so that it loses value when it is time to sell the property. It could be a good idea to talk any plan modifications over with a real estate professional.
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