Aging in place can present numerous challenges, from accessibility to mobility to safety, but most homes can't meet the unique needs of older adults. Thanks to technology and home improvement professionals, today's aging population can live at home longer and more comfortably. Home modifications for seniors can turn a frustrating and hazardous environment into a streamlined, safe, and user-friendly home. 

Aging in Place Home Modifications to Increase Accessibility

Minor home improvements such as upgrading doorknobs and pull handles can significantly impact seniors with dexterity challenges. Structural home modifications such as installing ramps and widening doorways can be game changers for those aging in place.

Upgrade Door Handles and Light Switches

Turning a doorknob can be painful and injurious for seniors with Arthritis or other physical limitations. Upgrading to lever-style door handles allows seniors to open doors without straining their hands and wrists. While conventional switch plates don't require much exertion, they can be challenging for those with declining manual dexterity. Paddle-style light switches are more straightforward to use because they can be operated with the touch of a finger. Many modern home modifications for seniors include switch plates also offer illumination for easier use in the dark.

Widen Doorways

Standard doorways often do not accommodate walkers, wheelchairs, and similar mobility devices. Mobility challenges are often a part of aging, and without easy passage from room to room, seniors can feel frustrated, isolated, and restricted. Widening doorways requires planning and trusted professionals who understand aging-in-place home modification and the needs of the elderly. 

Install Ramps

Wheelchair on wooden ramp.

Interior and exterior stairs are obstacles for older people with balance or stability issues. For older adults relying on walkers or wheelchairs, steps can be impossible and severely limit their mobility. Installing ramps can eliminate obstacles and give seniors more independence. 

Ramps can also be installed to create a smoother transition between flooring surfaces and minimize the risk of tripping or falling. This home modification for the elderly must be performed by licensed and experienced professionals to ensure the correct height and rise for safety.

Home modifications for seniors aging in place make it easier for them to navigate their environment safely. The increased mobility and access also provide peace of mind and a sense of independence. 

Lighting Modifications to Give Seniors a Brighter (and Safer) Future

Senior couple looking out of the window.

One of the sometimes overlooked home modifications for aging in place is lighting upgrades. An American Family Physician study finds that about a third of seniors over 65 have reduced vision. Dim, outdated lighting can exacerbate potential problems of reduced vision. Modern lighting can have a positive impact not only on safety but also on finding items.. 

Upgrade Lighting

Task lighting such as bedside and floor lamps is ideal for brightening dark spaces. These lighting options help seniors get around the house more easily and help reduce the risk of an accident. A handyman can ensure these home modifications for aging-in-place lighting fixtures are secure and their power cords are covered or out of the way.

An alternative lighting option is to create ambient lighting that illuminates entire rooms and other spaces. Ambient lighting options such as recessed lights can be an ideal primary lighting source in most areas. Modern lighting fixtures and bulbs can be an affordable way to upgrade lighting for increased safety and comfort—especially when coupled with intelligent technology. 

Regardless of the lighting update, remember that many older adults are sensitive to glare, so ensure it's kept to a minimum. For maximum flexibility and control, consider installing dimmable bulbs that are simple to operate

Get Smart

Smartphones, smart appliances, and intelligent lighting combined to provide comfort and convenience. Individual lights can be operated via voice activation from a smartphone or smart speaker, so seniors can control their lighting using only their voice. Smart lighting and other home modifications for aging in place make everyday living more enjoyable and convenient.

Let the Light In

Even the most innovative technology can't replicate natural light, which seniors need for good emotional and mental health. Natural light is essential for those who live alone and in the winter months. Skylights are one of the most economical and effective home modifications, and many include adjustable shading and other perks. Most homes are suited for skylights, but having them installed professionally is critical for longevity and safety. 

Modern lighting, innovative technology, and increased natural light create a brighter, safer home, and increased independence. 

Home Modifications for Seniors to Increase Safety

Any modification that provides increased accessibility and safety will be a welcome and comforting change for those aging in place. Alterations to the most used rooms, such as kitchens and baths, can help prevent accidents and make the spaces more user-friendly.

Simplify the Kitchen Layout

Senior couple cooking together in the kitchen.

The kitchen can be a dangerous and challenging space for the elderly, or it can be a safe and easy-to-use space through modifications. Professional handymen can install home modifications for seniors such as lower counters, sinks, and other surfaces to accommodate seniors in wheelchairs or who need to work from a seated position. Installing grab bars on cabinets, upgrading to pull-out shelves, and reconfiguring access to microwaves and other small appliances will provide even more convenience and usability. 

Modify the Bathroom

Senior woman holding on to hand rails in front of a sink.

Tile, porcelain, and other typical bathroom materials are appealing, durable, and water-resistant, but they are also unforgiving in case of a fall or slip. Bathrooms are notoriously slippery, so modifications such as increasing support and providing firmer footing are essential. Non-slip shower floors, grab bars, and other upgrades will make bathrooms less hazardous, and improvements such as raised toilets will make them more comfortable. For many seniors, replacing a traditional tub and shower with a walk-in tub provides easier access and safety.

A combination of remodeling and implementing safety features can help those aging in place enjoy their homes and live in a safe environment.

Home Modifications for Aging in Place From Mr. Handyman

We feature professionals with an average of 10 years of experience and handyman services for remodeling, modification, home repair, and maintenance. When you hire Mr. Handyman, the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ ensures that it’s done right the first time. Discover how your local Mr. Handyman can make aging in place more manageable when you get a personalized estimate.