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Most of us want to be able to live in our homes for as long as possible. Fortunately, the challenges introduced by aging in place can be easily met with a home renovation. Homes for seniors focus on independence, mobility and safety. These can include more lighting and slip-resistant flooring, creative solutions to accommodate walking aids, adjusting the heights of counters, installing glides, and more. Here are 5 top tips for doing a home reno for aging residents.
1. Handrails. These are important anywhere balancing and steadying are needed. On stairs, install handrails on both sides.
2. Widen doorways and hallways for wheelchairs and walkers. Traditionally, these openings measured from 22 to 27 inches wide. To comfortably allow a wheelchair or walker to pass through, they need to be 32 inches wide. Barn doors and sliding doors are excellent options and easy to use.
3. Bathroom modifications. Grab bars help with raising and lowering oneself and can be placed near the shower, toilet, and bathtub. Consider a Tub-to-Shower conversion. You can also add seating in the shower area. A bathtub cut-away is a unique solution to improve accessibility in an existing tub. Switch out door knobs for levers. These are easier and more comfortable to use.
4. Kitchen adaptations. Converting cupboard and pantry space to drawer space increases accessibility and storage. Install cabinet door pulls instead of knobs and a single handle faucet with gooseneck and pull out sprayer for better ease-of-use.
5. Stairs. Stairs present a significant fall hazard for the elderly. Install ramps for wheelchairs for greater access to, from, and around the home. You can also have a chair lift installed.