Published: Nov 4, 2014
As more and more older adults are choosing to age in place, the need for home modifications to accommodate physical changes in people is growing. Most homes today are designed using military specs that match the physical abilities and stature of the typical 18-year-old male. While these designs may be ideal for younger, taller people, they may not be ideal for older individuals or those dealing with physical and height limitations. Ideally, homes for aging adults would meet universal design standards, which make structures inherently accessible to older people and those with disabilities. Many homeowners, however, hesitate to upgrade existing homes because of the cost.
In most cases, however, homeowners can make some simple modifications that will allow seniors and adults with disabilities to live more comfortably and independently in their homes. Below are just some minimal cost suggestions:
The following items may cost more, but their investment may be worth that cost to enable the senior or disabled adult to live in the home:
Younger seniors, or any homeowner, can also start planning early to slowly incorporate universal design in their homes. Rather than trying to quickly renovate a home to accommodate various needs as those needs arise, homeowners can take a proactive approach with needed home maintenance and repairs. The advantage is that as the home needs repair, universal design elements can be incorporated into the existing repair job without a significant increase in cost. For more information on accommodating homes for seniors, check out The AARP Home Fit Guide, referenced below.
AARP. (2011). The AARP home fit guide. Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/livable-communities/documents-2014/AARP-Home-Fit-Guide-2014.pdf.
Hollies, D. (n.d.). Universal design. Home Advisor. Retrieved from http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Universal-Design.8330.html.