Retrofitting Your Home for Comfortably Aging in Place

Creating a safe and comfortable home environment is essential for any senior who wants to remain in their home as long as possible.

Certain home improvements can make a huge impact on the overall safety, usability and comfort of a senior’s living space.

From professionally installed walk-in bathtubs to DIY projects like adding slip-resistant flooring skids, any home can be retrofitted for comfortably aging in place.

Remove Obstacles

Loose throw rugs are a slip-and-fall hazard for any age and especially are hazardous for seniors with balance or mobility issues.

Remove the throw rugs and opt for non-skid treads placed at entryways, in front of sinks and kitchen work areas as well as in other high-traffic areas.

Remove tripping obstacles and items bumped into easily that can cause injury. These may include things like ottomans, extension cords, decorative baskets and knick-knacks.

Improve Lighting

As we age, eyesight can begin to fail. Improving home lighting makes daily tasks easier and safer. Consider adding recessed lighting in the kitchen over work areas, the sink and under the cabinets to better illuminate items on the countertop and food preparation area.

Add lighting in the bathroom at the sink and at or in the tub/shower area. Extra lighting on the wall near the toilet can be helpful as well.

A light switch extension for lamps can make turning the light on and off easier for anyone with limited mobility. Sometimes regular wall-mounted light switches can be difficult for seniors and even young children to grasp and use. Replace old switches with flat, rocker-style switches.

Walk-in Showers and Bathroom Tub Ideas

Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is the most used room in the home and must be safe, functional and comfortable for seniors aging in place. A barrier-free walk-in shower is the ideal solution for anyone with limited mobility and who prefers showering versus soaking in a tub. With an ultra-low threshold, folding shower seat and ADA compliant grab bars, a safe, independent shower experience is possible.

Sometimes a soaking tub is preferred, especially for anyone who prefers hydrotherapy for relaxation and the soothing of muscle and joint aches. You may opt for a combination walk-in tub/shower or need a compact walk-in tub to fit a smaller sized bathroom.

Grab Bars

Grab bars in the bathroom at the toilet and shower/tub are essential safety features for any senior aging in place. They can be installed easily and to match the existing décor. Consider adding grab bars in the home’s most used hallway as well.

See our list of the best grab bars for seniors here.

Modify Flooring

Many homes have beautiful, high-gloss hardwood floors. While this type of flooring looks amazing, it can be problematic for seniors aging in place.

High-gloss hardwood floors and certain tile floors often can be slick and a fall hazard even when dry. Adding throw rugs to high-traffic areas is not a good solution as these are easy to trip over.

A matte-finish hardwood floor may be the solution. These floors offer more grip and stability than high-gloss hardwood.

Upgrade Your Mattress

While changing a mattress isn’t as big a commitment as some home renovations for seniors, it is an important one. Finding the best mattress for seniors is essential to help with back pain or other joint problems.

A comfortable, supported sleep means waking up to a much better physical condition, which in turn creates new opportunities for exercize and better living.

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