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Aging in Place  /  March 31, 2023

Ottawa Handyman: Home Improvement Tips for Seniors

Tips for seniors for home improvement

Many senior citizens would rather remain in their homes than move to assisted living facilities as they age. Unfortunately, most houses are not conducive to aging in place, meaning home repairs for seniors are vital if they want to live out their days at home. Thankfully, homeowners have options that can improve seniors’ safety and quality of life, but those changes require the skilled hands of a licensed contractor or handyman.

Beneficial Changes for Aging in Place

While senior homeowners can invest tens of thousands into massive remodels, such drastic changes may not be necessary. Sometimes, a homeowner can make several simple and minor changes to ensure they live happily ever after in their home. For example, you can install a ramp to eliminate steps and install smart locks to allow for easy access to doors — no more fumbling with keys or jousting with the keyhole. With smart upgrades, there is no reason aging in place cannot be a possibility for most seniors. 

1. Bathroom Upgrades

Bathrooms are potential hazards and a common site of slip-and-fall accidents. A senior-safe design will include various grab bars installed correctly. Bars should anchor into the studs to ensure stability. Besides grab bars, consider installing a wider doorway, at least 32 inches, to accommodate most wheelchairs and walkers.

You may also need to adjust toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. As people age, they are not as mobile and flexible as they were, so they may need higher or lower bathroom fixtures and amenities, depending on their height. Also, consider swapping out the tub for a curbless walk-in shower.

2. Kitchen Upgrades

Kitchen remodels eat up most of a renovation budget because they contain some of the costliest appliances and components. When spending top-dollar on kitchen upgrades, build it to last.

Install counters at various heights to ensure usability and accessibility at different ages. The lowest counter height should be around 32 inches, and the highest, around 42 inches.

Also, consider all storage options before installing cabinets. Talk to cabinet makers or repair services in Ottawa about pullout shelves and open shelving. Finally, talk about kitchen lighting. Ensure there is adequate natural and artificial light for convenience and safety.

3. Main Floor Bedroom

Many seniors live in two-story homes. While they might handle the staircase now, there is no telling what the future holds. If the home does not have a primary bedroom on the main floor, consider adding one.

Stairwells are significant safety risks for seniors with limited mobility. Momentary weakness can lead to a devastating loss. Converting the home for main floor living is the best option, and it can work for multiple life stages. If converting part of the main floor to a bedroom is impossible, consider installing a chair lift on the stairs for safety.

4. Open Concept

If you will invest in a significant renovation, an open-concept design is perfect for aging in place. The design removes all unnecessary walls and hallways to create a more free-flowing design. The wide open space presents fewer challenges for seniors and can reduce injury risks.

Unfortunately, converting a traditional house into an open-design home can be expensive. In some cases, an entirely open concept is not possible because of existing mechanicals or structure. The only way to know how much the renovation will cost and if it is possible is to contact a professional contractor.

Professional Contractors Make Remodels Easier and Safer

Senior home repair and renovation is not for the inexperienced. A professional contractor will ensure that all changes are legal, permitted, and up to existing building standards. Contact Handyman Connection to schedule an appointment with a qualified professional.

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