Angie's List: Home modifications for seniors

The National Centers for Disease Control says that falling is the leading cause of death from injury in adults over 65 with three of every five falls occurring in the home. One-third of those accidents could be prevented by making the home safer.

Millions of seniors are supporting a growing niche of contractors who specialize in addressing the needs of aging homeowners, as well as those with special needs. Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) are specially trained through the National Association of Home Builders to work with senior citizens and those needing specific modifications by proactively addressing safety and accessibility issues in the home.

Remodeling to age in place can include:

  • Installing grab bars.
  • Widening doorways to accommodate a walker/wheelchair.
  • Eliminating steps or curbs from entryways.
  • Replacing slippery floor materials.
  • Installing pull-out kitchen cabinets.
  • Replacement of traditional bathtubs with a walk-in shower ot tub.
  • Installation of vanities to allow wheelchair room.
  • A dishwasher that minimizes the need to bend.

The consumer review website Angie's List says an aging-in-place project can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The cost can vary depending on the scope of the project and the quality of the products used. If you anticipate being in your home for at least 5 to 10 years, the cost of modifying may be lower compared with the cost of moving into an assisted living facility. Angie's List suggests exploring all of your options before deciding whether to move or remodel.