Independent and Safe Living: Home Renovations for Seniors

People are living longer than ever, and many are choosing to stay in their homes as long as possible. There are several reasons older adults prefer to continue to live in their homes as they age. AARP reported that 90% of people prefer to stay in their homes as they age, and for many that desire is possible. There are numerous home renovations for seniors that can transform a house into a safe and efficient space to live comfortably during the golden years.

Reasons to Renovate

home renovations for seniors

A few benefits of staying at home rather than moving to assisted living include:

  • Maintaining autonomy, which can boost mental health and self-esteem.
  • Avoiding the exorbitant and long-term costs of a retirement home.
  • Receiving treatment from the same local healthcare professionals.
  • Continuing to live near family, friends, and community.

Home renovations for seniors allow older Americans to enjoy these advantages in a safe manner. Even healthy seniors can experience risks in their homes. The leading cause of injuries in older adults is falling. In fact, 25% of all Americans over the age of 65 fall each year, and in 2015, total injury costs related to falls was $50 billion. Due to these statistics, it’s crucial for seniors to consider updating their homes by increasing safety measures in order to avoid preventable injuries and the pain, suffering, and costs are sure to follow.

Planning a Renovation for Senior Living

doctor's appointment

There are a few important steps to take before renovating your household. Speak with a doctor about your personal concerns and what accommodations they believe you need. A professional opinion will help you decide which improvements will benefit you the most. Home renovations for seniors can address mobility, vision impairment, and other common ailments.

You should also speak with a few general contractors in order to get price quotes as well as suggestions they may have for you.

Home Renovations for Seniors

Stairs and Levels

Widen the staircase – Providing ample room to move up and down the stairs will help you comfortably navigate without bumping into the walls or feeling cramped. Discuss with your general contractor how much the staircase can be expanded in order to meet your needs.

stairlift for seniors

Add a stairlift – A stairlift will allow those who are unable to use the stairs to move freely amongst the levels of their home.

Install railings – If you are able to use the stairs, it’s important to have supportive handles on each side of the steps to steady yourself as you walk. If you already have railings, consider upgrading them to ones that are sturdier and easier to grasp. This is a simple way to help prevent harmful slips and falls.

Wheelchair accessible entry – If your home does not have at least one entry point that is wheelchair accessible, consider adding a ramp or a new entryway that does not require climbing steps. Even if you are not wheelchair bound, it may be necessary in the future for you to be able to enter the home without using stairs, and this can prevent stair-related falls.

Living on the first floor – If there is space on the first floor of your home, it can include all the rooms you need. A living room can be converted into a bedroom, a shower can be added to the bathroom, and instead of finding a way to access the second floor, you can live comfortably without having to move from level to level.

Hallways and Doors

Widen doorways and hallways – Similar to the staircase, it’s best to have as much room as possible to avoid bumps and falls. Discuss the width with your general contractor.

lever handle

New doorknobs – Most turning doorknobs can cause strain on hands, wrists, and arms. Replacing them with lever handles can alleviate that stress and make opening doors easier and pain-free.

Automated doors – Installing doors that can be opened by the push of a button can relieve a significant amount of stress for those with mobility restrictions.

Floors

Slip-resistant floors – Materials without enough grip are a huge cause of slips and falls. Replacing your flooring with material that provides traction can help prevent injuries.

Remove molding and trim – To prevent tripping due to irregular surfaces, it’s best to make your floors even to allow for easier navigation.

carpeting

Replace unsecured rugs with carpeting – If you prefer a room to have soft flooring, try replacing rugs with carpeting as a safer alternative.

Kitchen

Add a second sink – Transporting a pot of water from the sink to the stove can be difficult. Consider adding a second sink near the stove so you don’t have to carry heavy cookware across the kitchen.

Roll out shelves – Reaching into deep cabinets can be challenging and dangerous. Roll out shelves allow you to effortlessly take out what you need from storage without extra strain.

Bathroom

Grab bars – Adding a supportive handle to use when standing up from the toilet will decrease strain and prevent bathroom falls which can be very prevalent due to slippery surfaces.

Shower seat and walk-in bath – Speaking of slippery surfaces, the ability to sit down while showering decreases the risk of a fall. The shower can be dangerous for anyone, especially seniors, so installing a seat is a good safety measure. In addition to a seat, a walk-in bath with a door eliminates the need to climb into the tub and adds extra security.

Lighting

overhead lighting

New light switches – Rocker switches or buttons tend to be easier to operate than traditional toggle switches. If you’d like an even easier option, try remote controlled lights that can be changed without leaving your seat.

Extra overhead lighting – Visibility is important for avoiding obstacles. Take note of locations in your home that need more light like the staircase, basement, or garage and have overhead lights installed.

Interested in Home Renovations for Seniors?

Mancill Builders has extensive home renovation experience and we would love to help customize your home to be safer and more convenient. We have served the Delaware County and greater Philadelphia area for over four decades and will gladly answer all your questions and concerns. Contact us today to starting discussing your renovation desires!