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Are you thinking about all that’s involved with aging in place – either for your parents or for yourself? You’re not alone. A study from Capital Caring Health found that the vast majority of Americans over the age of 50 – nearly 90% — want to age in place.

Of course, safety is key. We all know that the world changes as you age. The older you get, the more vulnerable you feel – and objects and tasks that once were commonplace can eventually become hazards.

Even if you are in great shape now, it’s a good idea to start thinking about the home renovations that may be needed so you can safely live in your home for years to come. Trust us – your 85-year-old self will thank you for your foresight.

Cost Effective

Aging in place can also be a cost-effective option, especially when you consider the high cost of assisted living. According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), a month in an assisted living facility costs $3,628 on average.

However, aging in place can come with its own costs. If you need to hire a health aide, the ACL says you can expect to pay an average of $20.50 per hour. Even if you don’t need to hire professional services, you will probably need to make certain home renovations, and these can cost money. They good news is that you can complete one project at a time done, and you may even be able to make some of these renovations yourself. If you are in your 50s now and expect to live well into your 80s or 90s, you can do one project a year, starting with the most pertinent, and be done with your renovations in a decade, while you are still young and fit, fully capable of adjusting into your welcoming home.

20 Aging in Place Home Renovations to Keep Seniors Safe

Below you will find an extensive list of home renovations to keep seniors safe, all with practicality of aging in mind. Remember, take these one at a time, and they are in no particular order, so pick and choose among those you find most important now and put off until later the ones that don’t seem essential to the near future.

1. Install lever-style doorknobs.

It can be frustrating as you lose strength in your hands and wrist to be constantly trying to twist and turn a doorknob. Swap out now for levers and save yourself the pain.

2. Put grab bars in bathrooms.

Slipping is one of the most dangerous hazards for seniors. Have grab bars installed in showers and tubs to ensure you have something to hold onto in case you slip.

3. Install wall mounted sinks.

This one is not commonly referred to. Sinks and countertops that are not mounted to the wall can be a falling hazard. If you reach out to grab onto the sink for support and it falls forward, you can wind up in a disaster.

4. Adjust the height of the toilet.

As you age, it can be harder to rise from a very low toilet. Have your toilet raised so it is easier to get up when you’re done.

5. Consider automatic flushing mechanisms.

In can be easy to forget to flush as you age, so having auto flushing installed will help prevent toilet backup and unwelcome smells.

6. Change out your faucets.

Like doorknobs, you want faucets with levels and bars rather than knobs that are hard to twist.

7. Install anti-scalding measures in water heaters.

To prevent burns and scalds, have anti-scalding features installed in all of your water sources.

8. Adjust shelving.

Lower your shelving so you can access it and do not have to climb on stairs you can fall from.

9. Consider installing a walk-in bathtub with an open and shut door.

You don’t have to eliminate your ability to soak in a nice tub. Just get a bathtub with a door that allows you to walk in, so you prevent slipping hazards.

10. Install pullout shelves and lazy Susans.

So you don’t have to reach way back into cupboards and shelves, have them installed so you can pull them out and turn them on stands.

11. Install ovens with side-open doors rather than pulldowns.

These doors will prevent burning and scalding on ovens that are hard to push down and can potentially pop back up.

12. Widen your doorways.

In the event you find yourself or your partner in a wheelchair, you will need all the doorways in your house to accommodate that larger width.

13. Replace flooring with slip resistant materials.

Again, you do not want to slip and break a hip or any other bone. Bone density decreases as you age, and you are much more likely to suffer severe damage from a fall. Remove decorative area rugs that could become tripping hazards and make sure all of your flooring has slip resistant material.

14. Add a wheelchair ramp.

The reason for this one is obvious, in case of a wheelchair. It might also just be helpful to walk up an incline rather than steps all the time.

15. Adjust kitchen countertops.

In the event you end up in a wheelchair, it is helpful to have lower surfaces to work on. It can also be nice just to sit in a chair and work at a lower counter rather than standing for long periods.

16. Install a chair lift or elevator.

This may be necessary if you are in a wheelchair or you experience immobility.

17. Invest in smart technology.

A variety of new devices have come onto the market, and some of these could make living alone safer and easier. Examples include smart temperature controls, smart lights, smart sprinkler systems and smart security systems.

18. Install lower wall switches.

Again, in case you end up in a wheelchair, you want all of your wall switches at a level you can reach.

19. Install refrigerator drawers at reachable levels.

As with wall switches and shelves, you want a refrigerator you can access. Look for senior friendly options available on the market today.

20. Lower your cooktops for easy access.

You want to have access to your cooking surfaces, too. If you use a wheelchair, consider installing wheelchair-accessible stovetops so you can keep making yourself those healthy meals!

Aging Well

Remember, society is not always friendly to aging seniors, so you will have to be friendly to yourself. Take care and take all precautions as you age, so you are prepared for what is to come. Keep your house in a condition that will allow to you grow old gracefully and independently, relying primarily on yourself. That way, you make sure you live life on your own terms.