Tips for Home Accessibility Modifications for Seniors
One of the main factors that facilitate aging in place is having a home that is easily accessible. As you grow older, your mobility, sight and hearing may become weaker making a home that had been perfectly comfortable for you a few years ago difficult to live in. Implementing accessibility modification to your current home will make it more conducive for you. Alternatively, you could move to a new home that already has the accessibility features you are looking for.
Here are tips to help you make the necessary adjustments, find a great contractor or find a suitable new home.
Modifications to an existing home
All changes should aim at creating a safe, secure, comfortable and accessible home environment. Consider some of these home modifications:
· Widen doorways. Wider doorways are especially essential if you use walking aids such as walkers and wheelchairs. The cost of widening your doorways will vary depending on the type of insulation and electrical wiring plan of your house.
· Replace stair with ramps. Growing older may present balance issues, which make it difficult for you to use stairs. Besides, if you are using mobility aids, it is easier navigate ramps than steps.
· Lower countertops, sinks and cabinets to allow easy access from a seated position.
· Bathroom modifications. Sixty percent of home slip and falls happen in the bathroom. Therefore, it is important to pay keen attention to make the bathroom safe. Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower, as it may be difficult for you to get in and out of the tub. If you insist on retaining the bathtub, install safety strips on the tub and a safety bar to hold on to when getting in and out on the side. Place a bathing stool that you can sit on as you shower, and install non-skid rugs or tiles on the bathroom floor to prevent slip and falls.
· Throughout the house, ensure that carpets are well-fastened on the floor to prevent tripping. Replace old and torn carpets with new ones. Consider replacing your existing flooring with hardwood or vinyl flooring, which are easier to navigate if you are using mobility aids.
· Install an elevated toilet and a grab bar on its side and ensure the toilet has enough maneuvering space.
· See to it that all areas of your home are well-lit.
· If you intend to keep or start gardening, raise the beds to reduce stress on your back.
· Downsize your home to make it easy to navigate and manage.
Finding a great contractor
Hiring a professional to assess the modifications required and implement them will help you preserve the value of your home. A professional occupational therapist will advise you on the most appropriate adjustments depending on the progression of your aging. They are also well-acquainted with the various assistive technologies that will help make your home more suitable for your unique needs.
Financing your modifications
Making modifications to your new home can be costly. However, the U.S. government and other non-governmental organizations offer financial support for home modifications in the form of grants, low-interest loans, free labor and equipment loans.
Some financial programs include Medicaid HCBS waivers, HUD home improvement loans, and reverse mortgages. Talk to your occupational therapist to assist you in accessing some of these financial resources.
Features to look out for in a potential home
If you decide to move to a new home, look for one that is already senior-friendly and requires minimum modifications. The house should have flat entryways, wide doorways, spacious and be adequately lit.
When assessing your current home for modifications, work with an occupational therapist to audit each room and pinpoint the aspects that need repairs. Draw up a budget and timeline and gather the necessary resources to enable implementation. Your dream of aging in place is achievable with a safe and accessible home.
Assistance with selling your current home
If you decide to move to a new home and want to sell existing one, a real estate consultant will assist you sell for the right price. Want to know what your home is worth? Consult real estate professional for advice.
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Article Credit: Claire Wentz