According to the Center for Disease Control, aging in place refers to “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” If you experience declining health or mobility, you may have to make modifications to your residence to make this possible. Most homes are built with young, agile people in mind; as you experience the changes that time often brings, the steps that take you in and out of your home, the once-convenient counter heights, the standard door widths, and the door knobs that help you access each room, can become a burden.
What does your Home Need for Aging in Place?
In order to fully access your home, you may need to make some modifications to keep it safe. Some accommodations, such as adding railings and grab bars, changing doorknobs to levers, or buying a lift chair, are easy and inexpensive to do while making the home safer.
Aging in place may require more extensive and expensive renovations as well, including:
- Stair lifts
- Vertical lifts
- Walk-in tubs
- Roll-in showers
- Doorway expansions
- Counter height adjustments
What to Consider Before Modifying your Home
For anyone contemplating these modifications for themselves or a loved one, there are a few things to consider:
- Any renovations must comply with ADA regulations (and city codes) to be considered safe, and most products are more suited to professional installation than DIY projects. Make sure to get estimates and then contract with an experienced ADA-certified contractor.
- Purchasing and installing accessibility equipment is costly. You might be able to obtain funding through certain government programs or through private funding. Many homeowners pay for the improvements with reverse mortgages, home equity loans, or savings.
- These modifications can be well worth it if you or the homeowner plans on staying in the home for a while. Before making a significant outlay, you should talk to a contractor experienced with making ADA type renovations about the length of time it will take you to amortize your investment.
- You should also talk to a real estate agent. In some communities, renovations to facilitate aging in place will add to resale values, but this might not be the case in a young neighborhood of starter homes. You may even have to remove equipment before you move to make it easier to sell.
- Whether it is worth it also depends how convenient your neighborhood is to services you need and the general layout of your home. If you live in a three story urban townhouse, you might consider moving on before spending money on multiple stair lifts and other modifications.
Contact Western Stairlifts for an in-home consultation to make aging in the home you love possible for years to come.