Aging in Place: Home Modifications for Seniors

It’s been said that there’s no place like home.  Which is why aging in place has become such an important option!  For senior citizens who’ve been living in the same house for decades, it’s only natural to want to remain there as they get older.  Unfortunately, the floor plan that worked for them in the past may not be able to accommodate all of their needs in the future.  At least, not without a few home modifications.  Since September honors National Senior Citizen Day, we’re dedicating this blog to projects that will help your family age in place.

Widen Doorways for Wider Freedom

As far as aging in place goes, this is one of the most practical concerns.  From your front door to all of the interior doorways, you may not have enough room to accommodate mobility aids like walkers and wheelchairs.  Generally speaking, you need at least 32 inches (width wise) to comfortably fit these devices.  While you don’t need to rework your entire floor plan into an open concept, you may need to budget for wider doorways throughout at least one level of your home.  Depending on the configuration, it could cost around $400 to $600 per door.  That should cover replacing the existing frame and drywall, plus insulation and paint.  Although you may need to pay more for any electrical work associated with moving wires, light switches, etc.

If you’re planning on redoing your front door to age in place, you may need to budget a bit more.  Don’t forget to look into lever-style doorknobs while you’re at it.  These mechanisms are typically easier to operate for seniors.  Plus, they’re a pretty inexpensive update.  You can find reliable options starting around $20 at any hardware store. 

Ramp Up Your Home Improvements

Even if you don’t need a wheelchair right now, consider installing a ramp while you’re performing other improvements.  Not only will this avoid any pricey, last-minute additions.  But also, you’ll have ramp access to your home for other reasons!  Maybe you don’t need a wheelchair or walker, but your friends and family do.  Having this accommodation already in place will make hosting holidays and other events much easier. 

Plus, you can use it to facilitate deliveries, moving, and more.  Rather than having to lug heavy items up and down stairs as you’re aging in place, you can simply place them on a hand truck or in a wheeled storage bin for easy transportation.  Since this project costs around $1,500 (on average), it’s a solid investment for senior citizens.

Don’t forget about your home exterior during this process!  While we may not need to modify much, it’s better to budget for larger projects, like a new roof, replacement siding, and/or windows before you retire.  At Schaefer Exteriors, we’ve been helping homeowners throughout Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia, and Eastern West Virginia protect their investment for more than thirty years.  Let us know what we can do for you!

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