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Designing for Aging in Place: Remodeling Tips for Senior-Friendly Homes

As we age, our needs and abilities change, making it essential to adapt our living spaces accordingly. Designing for aging in place involves creating a home environment that is safe, comfortable, and accessible for seniors.

Whether you’re planning a renovation for yourself or a loved one, here are some remodeling tips from skilled experts and designers that can help ensure that the home remains a place of independence and security for years to come. Read on!

Bathroom Modifications

1. Entryway Accessibility

Making the entryway accessible is a crucial first step. Install ramps or no-step entries to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Ensure that the entryway is well-lit and has a covered area to protect against weather.

Lever-style door handles are easier to operate than traditional knobs, especially for those with arthritis. Additionally, consider installing a smart doorbell with a camera to enhance security.

2. Wider Doorways and Hallways

Widening doorways and hallways is essential for improving mobility within the home. Standard doorways are often too narrow for wheelchairs, so aim for a width of at least 36 inches. Similarly, hallways should be spacious enough to allow easy movement.

This not only helps with accessibility but also reduces the risk of accidents and injuries. In addition, smooth, non-slip flooring materials can further enhance safety and ease of movement.

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3. Bathroom Modifications

Bathrooms are high-risk areas for falls, so modifications are critical. Install grab bars near the toilet and inside the shower or tub. Consider replacing a traditional tub with a walk-in shower that has a non-slip floor.

A handheld showerhead and a built-in bench can provide added convenience and safety. Additionally, a raised toilet seat can make sitting and standing easier for those with mobility issues.

Entryway Accessibility

4. Kitchen Adjustments

A senior-friendly kitchen design focuses on accessibility and ease of use. Lower countertops and cabinets ensure that items are within easy reach. Pull-out shelves and drawers can make accessing cookware and groceries simpler. Install lever-style or touchless faucets to reduce strain on the hands.

Adequate lighting, particularly under-cabinet lighting, can improve visibility and reduce the risk of cooking accidents.

5. Non-Slip Flooring

Choosing the right flooring is essential for preventing falls. Opt for non-slip materials like textured tiles, vinyl, or rubber flooring. Avoid area rugs or ensure they have non-slip backing to prevent tripping.

Consider carpeting with a low pile, which provides a soft surface without posing a tripping hazard. Flooring transitions between rooms should be smooth to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.

6. Improved Lighting

Good lighting is crucial for seniors, as vision deteriorates with age. Ensure all home areas are well-lit, including hallways, staircases, and outdoor spaces. Motion-sensor lights can be handy, providing illumination only when needed.

Adjustable lighting levels can help adapt the brightness according to different tasks, reducing eye strain and improving safety.

7. Bedroom Modifications

Creating a comfortable and accessible bedroom is important for restful sleep and daily routines. Position the bed at an easy height to get in and out of. Install bedside lighting that is easy to operate, and consider adding grab bars near the bed for extra support.

Closet organization systems with adjustable rods and shelves can make clothing easier to reach. Additionally, ensure that pathways around the bed are clear of obstacles to prevent trips and falls.

Doorways and Hallways

8. Smart Home Technology

Incorporating smart home technology can significantly enhance safety and convenience for seniors. Voice-activated assistants can control lights, thermostats, and security systems without requiring manual adjustments. Smart sensors can detect falls and alert emergency contacts.

With minimal effort, automated lighting and temperature controls can create a comfortable living environment. Technology integration can help seniors maintain independence and stay connected with family and caregivers.

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