Home Modifications for Seniors

Updated: Jan 22

According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the vast majority of older Americans would like to remain living in their own homes for as long as physically and/or mentally possible. Of these individuals, most said they could live for an extra 10 years in their homes because of these adjustments, according to the survey.

What are Home Modifications?

Home modifications are adjustments or adaptations made to the home so an elderly or disabled person can perform daily tasks as safely as possible while maintaining his/her independence. The type of modifications made will depend on the individual’s abilities and home layout.

Many times those who require home modifications have problems with areas such as the stairs, kitchen, bathroom, driveway and basement.

These areas of the home present complications and dangers because the elderly or disabled individual is suffering from one or more of the following problems:

  • Bad vision or hearing

  • Trouble with depth perception

  • Diminished sense of smell and touch

  • Obesity

  • Too short or too tall

  • Weakness or reduced mobility

  • Poor balance and grip

  • Lack of coordination

  • Cognitive impairments

  • History of falling

Solutions

There are so many simple solutions to allow individuals to remain in their homes while still being allowed to perform daily activities with minimal to no trouble. Here are some useful home modifications:

Improving Lighting and Visibility:

  • Place light switches on the top and bottom of staircases and close to room entrances

  • Install lighted switch plates

  • Install voice- or sound-activated systems

  • Install motion-censored exterior lighting

Improving Safety and Support:

  • Take away loose rugs or secure them with non-skid backing or double-sided carpet tape

  • Install non-slip flooring in bathrooms and kitchens

  • Place bright-colored non-skid tape on the edges of stairs to highlight them

  • Install rubber treads on uncarpeted indoor and outdoor stairs

  • Install handrails and grab bars in stairways and bathrooms

  • Place an adjustable rail on the edge of the bathtub

  • Install anti-scald devices in the bathroom sinks and showers

  • Install an emergency response system

Improve Convenience and Accessibility:

  • Install wheelchair ramps

  • Install bed rails

  • Place a portable toilet in the bedroom

  • Replace round doorknobs with levers

  • Install a raised toilet seat

  • Place a shower chair in the shower or tub

  • Install crank windows

  • Purchase clocks and telephones with larger numbers

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional.

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