According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a recent AARP survey, 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 with some home modifications. 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.
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:
- Place lighted switch plates on the top and bottom of staircases and close to room entrances
- Install motion-censored exterior lighting
- Take away loose rugs or secure them with non-skid backing or double-sided carpet tape
- Install handrails and grab bars in stairways and bathrooms
- Place an adjustable rail on the edge of the bathtub
- Replace round doorknobs with levers
- Install a raised toilet seat & place a shower chair in the shower or tub
- Purchase clocks and telephones with larger numbers
Seniors spend millions of dollars a year making home modifications to accommodate their changing needs. The AARP has devised a comprehensive list of resources on financing and contractors to assist with these changes. Visit www.aarp.org for more information.