Home Improvements to Consider for Aging in Place
Americans are getting older, and most want to stay in their homes and communities
as they age. As a result, many homeowners are taking steps to modify their
homes so they will be able to safely and comfortably remain in their homes
for as long as possible. This is called “aging in place.”
With the average annual cost of assisted living at $43,200 and nursing
home care at $80,300 you will likely save money over the long run by investing
in aging-in-place home improvements. Also, if you have long-term care
insurance, it may help cover some of the costs.
Here are some of the most popular home improvements to consider if aging
in place is important for you or a parent. You’ll notice that many
are designed to help prevent the risk of falls, which dramatically increases with age.
In the bathroom:
- Install a shower with a zero threshold entry (no curb) to minimize tripping
and to make accessible for a wheelchair.
- Add a shower chair (for those not in a wheelchair) and a hand-held showerhead.
- A comfort-height toilet (17-19 inches off the ground) will make getting
on and off easier. (You can also buy a toilet seat extender, which sits
on top of the existing toilet seat.)
- Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower.
In the kitchen:
- Create counters at multiple heights to have the option to sit or stand
when preparing meals.
- Install an under-the-counter microwave instead of one overhead.
- Add pull-out shelves in cabinets.
Throughout the home:
- Install nonslip floors, such as textured stone or linoleum.
- Increase lighting.
- Install remote controls for lights and window coverings.
- Lower electrical switches and raise outlets.
- Change doorknobs to lever-style handles and cabinet knobs to handles.
- Move the master bedroom to the first floor and install a bathroom if necessary.
- Add a ramp to the entrance and widen hallways/doorways to accommodate a
Many of these options, and more, are thoughtfully being included in new
construction for those who want to purchase aging-in-place-ready homes.
Custom homes being built for some of our disabled veterans are filled
with innovative ideas. You can also consult a design or home improvement
specialist who has experience with aging-in-place features.