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Home Improvements – The Lowdown on Major & Minor Elderly-Friendly Remodels

Posted on Friday, May 12, 2023
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson

Home improvements are building projects that enhance portions of an interior or exterior structure. Some renovations may be major, such as redoing a home’s plumbing or electrical system or putting on a new roof. Other home improvement projects may be minor yet offer a big bang for the buck. This includes repainting or wallpapering rooms as examples. Many experts agree that major home improvements, such as remodeling a kitchen or bathroom or adding a deck to expand usable space, can increase the value of a home. While redesigning a home to fit senior needs might not be as profitable, some major or minor improvements such as the examples given below can greatly ensure the safety of elderly residents. However, it’s important to focus on maintaining or increasing the value of a home while adding said features, and perhaps picking and choosing the most worthwhile or opting for temporary or DIY options.

Examples of major changes that can make a home more senior-friendly: (Higher cost and professional installation generally required)

  • Replacing outdoor steps that are unsafe and installing handrails on both sides
  • Installing a ramp outside the home
  • Installing an elevator
  • Enlarging the shower and adding larger doors, bars and railings, and permanent seating
  • Replacing a bathtub with walk-in shower
  • Adding a chairlift to an existing staircase
  • Replacing slippery flooring with permanent non-slip product
  • Lowering countertops and cabinet heights and light switches and doorknobs for wheelchair accessibility
  • Redoing interior and exterior lighting to include motion sensors to prevent dark areas

Examples of minor changes that can make a home more senior-friendly: (Lower cost and DIY ideas)

  • Removing throw rugs that can pose slipping hazards
  • Increasing stair visibility by adding safety strips
  • Filling in cracks in the sidewalks and walkways to prevent tripping hazards
  • Placing non-stick treads in the shower
  • Removing excess furniture that may crowd or block safe access to rooms
  • Replace the existing shower head with one offering a hand-held shower nozzle
  • Install a tall toilet seat

The lists above are examples of home improvements that can be made to make a home more senior-friendly, allowing older people to live longer in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Some fixes are major and involve greater costs and others are minor and less expensive. However, each is likely beneficial as they encourage and promote the self-reliance and independence of older citizens who seek to live at home longer. While most homeowners focus on home improvements as it relates to home value, seniors are generally fixated on changes related to sustaining or increasing the quality of life. Seniors who are considering home improvements to age in place should also make home modifications that are aesthetically pleasing to prevent a negative effect on future resale value. For example, metal ramps are largely viewed as unattractive and can ultimately lower a home’s resale value. So, before considering big changes, do tap the resources of real estate professionals where household improvements are in question.

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