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Home Modifications to Help Older Adults Age in Place

Many older adults would like to stay independent and remain in their homes for as long as possible. To be able to age in place as they would want, they have to create an environment for themselves that they can thrive in. One of the best ways to do this is to implement the right home modifications that fit their needs. 

The best part about home modifications is that they can be very simple, yet extremely effective. This means that older adults who make even just a few changes to their home can significantly decrease their chances for major issues like falling. We created a list below to guide you through the types of modifications that are available to you and how they can improve how you live at home.

Home Modifications to Consider 

Bathroom Modifications

Bathroom accidents thatcause falls and injuries are often due to features that don’t accommodate those with limited mobility, strength, and balance. To minimize the risk of falling, bathrooms can be modified in the following ways:

  • Installinga walk-in shower instead of a step-in tub
  • Adding grab bars around the bathroom and in the shower for support
  • Elevating the toilet seat to make it easier to sit down and stand up
  • Placing non-skid mats outside the shower and near the toilet
  • Purchasing a seat in the shower
  • Inserting a hand-held shower head

Kitchen Modifications

Because we spend so much time in our kitchens, it’s necessary to have the right modifications to not only keep us safe but to also make cooking, cleaning, and organizing much easier. 

Kitchen modifications can include:

  • Adding easy-to-grab C- or D-shaped drawer handles
  • Elevating the sink to reduce excessive leaning or bending when washing dishes
  • Ensuring smoke alarms are working properly
  • Lowering shelves to make reaching easier
  • Buying temperature-controlled cookware to reduce chance of fire

General Home Modifications

There are also many general home modifications you can implement to make each room in your home more accessible and enjoyable. 

Examples of these modifications include: 

  • Adding night lights in the bedroom 
  • Adding night lights throughout the house, especially on pathways
  • Increasing the size of doorways to make moving from room to room easier
  • Replacing round door knobs with lever door handles
  • Replacing toggle-style light switches with easier to use rocker-style light switches (preferably glow in the dark)
  • Adding lighting to usually unlit spaces such as closets
  • Discarding any throw rugs or floor decorations that can be hazards

Alzheimer’s-focused Modifications

Many people don’t realize that specific home modifications are needed for those with Alzheimer’s to keep them safe and comfortable. 

Some of these modifications include:

  • Adding door chimes or “hiding” door knobs behind curtains 
  • Adding child-proof locks on doors and cabinets 
  • Removing furniture with sharp corners
  • Replacing any flimsy chairs with more sturdy ones
  • Using clocks with large LCD displays
  • Using telephones with big buttons

What to Remember

Every modification you add should revolve around reducing strain, and making your home easily accessible and hazard-free. So, take time to find the modifications that work best for you, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from professionals. 

Additional Resources

Your Home Checklist for Aging in Place

How Home Modifications Reduce Care Needs for Older Adults & People with Disabilities

Strategies for Effective Home Modification in Older Adults

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