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Aging in Place  /  July 22, 2021

Why Home Modifications Are Important For Seniors

Why Home Modifications Are Important For Seniors

Out of people who are 65 and older, 80% want to stay in their homes as they age rather than moving to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, as people age, they often develop mobility issues, vision problems, and other medical conditions that make aging in place difficult and sometimes dangerous, largely because of the risk of falling. Only about 1% of all existing homes are conducive to aging in place. However, modifications and home repairs for seniors can be made to make them safer for seniors to live out their golden years.

A number of modifications can be made to the home to make it more accessible and functional for elderly and disabled people. Here are some modifications commonly made by people who are serious about aging in place.

Bathroom Modifications

Falls in the bathroom are common, in part because surfaces become wet and slippery. For this reason, many home modifications for seniors are made to the bathroom:

  1. A handheld or adjustable showerhead allows you to shower while sitting as well as standing
  1. A no-step entry to the shower helps prevent you from tripping and allows you to roll a wheelchair directly into the shower if needed.
  1. Nonslip strips or nonskid mats in the shower or tub prevent you from slipping
  1. Sturdy grab bars with blocking for reinforcement help keep you steady by giving you something to hold onto while getting in and out of the tub or shower
  1. A comfort-height toilet is easier on people with pain in the back or knees
  1. A lever-style faucet is easier to turn on and off than round knobs

Stairway Modifications

Homes that are specifically designed to be accessible are often built all on one level so that there is no need to deal with stairs at all. However, if you are retrofitting an existing home with the help of repair services in Vaughan, it may have stairways that need modification to be safe and usable.

Hand railings along staircases can provide support and prevent falls. Most stairways only have a railing on the other side, but if you can add another one securely and at an appropriate height on the other side, it can mean even more support and protection.

A low pile carpet on the stairs can help prevent slipping, but the pattern, if there is one, should be simple to make the steps easy to see. If there is no carpet, adhesive nonslip strips should be added to the risers.

Lighting Modifications

Sufficient lighting can illuminate potential tripping hazards, helping to prevent falls. You might want to add lighting to dark areas such as closets and increase lighting in high-traffic areas in the house, both inside and outside. Install rocker switches in place of those that toggles up and down and consider light-sensor nightlights and motion-sensor outdoor lighting that comes on automatically when needed.

Miscellaneous Modifications

When opening doors, drawers, or cabinets, round knobs are more difficult to grip. Lever door handles and D-shaped handles for cabinets and drawers are much easier to manage. Door openings should be at least 36 inches wide to accommodate mobility aids such as wheelchairs and walkers. It is not always possible to widen the opening, but you can buy yourself a little extra room to maneuver by installing swing-clear or swing-away hinges on doors. The house number should be easily visible from the street so emergency services can find you easily if you need to call for help.

Personalized Home Repairs for Seniors

The modifications you require for your home depend on your individual needs. Some are relatively simple, while others require extensive remodeling. Our locally based professionals in Vaughan understand your needs and will treat you with respect and compassion throughout the planning and installation process for your home modifications.

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