Making Your Home an Age-Friendly Living Space: 7 Modifications

Here are some home modifications if you plan on creating an age-friendly living space. 

As we age, our minds remain sharp, but our bodies begin to show indicators that they can no longer perform all the tasks they once did. Our homes are often intended to meet the requirements of the younger generation, leaving a huge percentage of the population in an unpleasant situation because their own homes are open traps. However, several modifications may be made to make the entire home sound and safe for the elderly, reducing the danger of an accident occurring. Here are seven age-friendly home modifications that you may consider.

Create an age-friendly home by following these tips. 

Prevent Slips

Install new floors to prevent slips, trips and falls. We need to make some improvements to their homes so that the elderly can live somewhat independently. The flooring is one of the modifications we must make; balance can be difficult as we age, and comfort and safety become our top priorities. The optimal material for senior citizens should be soft, preventing bones from readily breaking and bruising. At the same time, the floors should be simple to clean and maintain so that they do not become a burden. Rubber floors are extremely soft and inherently slip-resistant, as well as fire-resistant. Rubber flooring becomes water and stain resistant after being coated with water-soluble wax.

Have At Least One No-Step Entry

It’s a good idea to have at least one of these on hand. However, several connected difficulties go beyond the construction activity. Outside, you’ll probably want a covered entrance to keep the weather out. And good drainage is required because the doorway will be level with the walking area directly beyond the door. Once inside, you’ll need room to move around. If creating a no-step entry at an existing entryway is too difficult or expensive, look outside the box. Could you convert a window into a doorway to get access to a larger area, or a small or underutilized room into a new foyer? Making the living room less of a hallway could be a side benefit.

Create a Safe Kitchen

Kitchen cabinets should be replaced with drawers and pullout shelves. Drawers and pullouts in kitchens are popular with homeowners of all ages because they allow you to see and get objects without having to bend down and stare into a dark cabinet. Rather than you getting into the cabinet, it takes the contents of the cabinet out into the light. Upper cabinet glass doors help you remember what’s inside. When selecting knobs and pulls, avoid small spherical knobs in favor of something larger and simpler to grasp.

Look for extra convenience and safety features that will benefit seniors who are aging in place. An electric cooktop with level burners for safety while switching between burners, front controls, a downdraft feature to draw heat away from the user; light to show when the surface is hot. Take a thorough look at your flooring if you’re planning a kitchen remodel. Tile is difficult to stand on for extended periods, especially if you have lower back or hip trouble. We propose more forgiving flooring options such as vinyl, linoleum, wood or cork. Consider adding seating areas so you can still chop your vegetables while taking a break. Appliances can also be lowered or lifted to make them easier and safer to use. Raised dishwashers make loading and unloading easier on the back and joints. Ovens can also be raised to avoid painful bending and to observe when the heat needs to be reduced. For more kitchen safety tips, check out this blog.

Consider the Stairs

The most typical reason why older family members decide to buy and install an electric stair lift is safety. Sometimes elderly parents will become disabled due to arthritis or muscle atrophy, and the other will no longer be able to assist them up the stairs. Other times, older folks express a general fear of slipping down the steps while they are alone at home and no one can hear or aid them. When they travel between the floors of the house, the elevator gives them the security they require. Elevators provide more than convenience and safety. Installing a house elevator can increase the value of your property significantly, making it a beneficial investment. Many prospective homebuyers today choose homes with elevator access. This is because many customers are thinking ahead to a time when accessibility may become an issue for them as their mobility declines. Even if you aren’t currently utilizing every component of the elevator, it can dramatically boost the resale value of your property.

Replace Door Knobs

Another home improvement that may be made to make it more accessible to the elderly is to replace all of the doorknobs with levers. Remember that as you get older, the joints and muscles surrounding them weaken, so placing any pressure on or spinning the joist might cause injury and pain. One simple approach is to replace them with levers, which can be opened with a single push. Levers are typically easier to hold than spherical doorknobs and do not necessitate a twisting motion. This is especially beneficial for people who have arthritis or other diseases that limit their mobility. Lever-style knobs start at around $20 at home improvement stores. Changing doorknobs is a do-it-yourself project, or you can call a handyman.

Create a Safe Bathroom

A senior who wishes to age in place should think about bathroom renovations, particularly the bathtub. Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower, which is considerably easier (and safer) to enter and exit than a bathtub. Add grab bars even if you keep your standard tub. These hefty bars can assist in preventing falls caused by slick tubs, shower stalls and flooring. Grab bars often cost $20 to $30 each at home improvement stores. Professional installation costs around $100 per unit, materials included.

A frequently underestimated advantage of walk-in tubs is their ability to function as both a stand-up or sit-down shower and a deep soaking tub. A high-quality supplier will include a faucet set with an adjustable showerhead. This component can also be hung on a riser rod, allowing the bather to use it as a stand-up shower or sitting shower. Having a dual-purpose walk-in tub and shower capacity built-in can be beneficial for adult children who live with their parents. A toilet seat for elderly loved ones eliminates the awkwardness of needing assistance to use the restroom. Sitting on the toilet can be difficult for those who are recuperating from an injury, have chronic joint discomfort, or have limited mobility. An elevated toilet seat relieves pain and allows aged folks to use the restroom independently. Raised toilet seats are safe, pleasant, and inexpensive.

The more difficult an object is to obtain, the greater the risk of damage. If kept tidy, open shelves can be appealing. Installing glass-front doors on your cabinets allows you to see what’s inside without having to open them. Look for cabinets with smooth-closing doors and drawers with D-shaped pulls rather than knobs. A shower chair can help increase your safety. Do you ever dread taking a bath or shower? Most likely, the possibility of falling is on your mind, and a shower chair or bath chair can put your mind at ease. Using a shower chair or bath chair increases safety by reducing the risk of falling in a slippery shower or bath and providing a stable place. Shower chairs and bath chairs are extremely useful for wheelchair users, the elderly, and anyone who finds excessive movement painful or difficult. You don’t want to risk falling and injuring yourself or ending up in the hospital.

Install roll-in showers with several fixed, height-adjustable, and hand-held shower heads. Install grab bars if the curtain is not kept up by a tension rod, as holding it for support may result in a fall. Install rubber mats both inside and outside the shower to prevent slipping and falling. Lower the bathroom sink and provide adequate knee clearance. Hot and cold faucets should also be appropriately labeled, or color-coded, with red for hot and blue for cold. Make sure the water temperature is adjusted to 120 degrees or below, as most seniors lose their temperature sensitivity and may scald themselves.

Don’t be swayed by visual attractiveness or longevity. In the case of a fall, ceramic tile is cold, hard, and unforgiving. It is also relatively slippery when wet, making it an unsuitable choice for senior restrooms. Installing a handheld shower head is a highly useful choice for aging-in-place bathrooms. These make it easier for folks who need to shower while seated or who have limited movement and are unable to use the permanently fitted shower head. These shower heads often have a hose length of three to six feet, making it easier to operate them from various locations on the shower seat or in the shower (such as near the grab bar). For more bathroom safety tips, check out this blog.

Consider a Universal Design

Building surroundings that are accessible to anybody, regardless of physical limits or disabilities, has been termed as universal design. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 formalized much of the universal design principle. In actuality, most instances involve retrofitting an existing space with all of its limitations, rather than building a new place with an empty palette. Stepless entryways, wider doorways, lever-style handles on doors and faucets, multi-level or height-adjustable counters and job areas, grab bars in bathrooms, easy-access drawers, cabinets and storage areas, and enough lighting are common universal design features for the home environment. These design elements increase people of all ages and abilities ease of use, comfort, accessibility, independence, and quality of life. They also aid in the prevention of falls, injuries, and accidents.

These were just 7 basic home modifications for aging in place. The modifications you make to your home or your loved one’s home vary depending on disabilities, disorders, physical strength, wants and needs. Before starting any updates, we recommend visiting a doctor and then home specialists to design the best modifications for aging in place. If you need help creating an age-friendly home, Valor Home Services can help. Learn more or book an appointment by calling our team today.