January 23, 2018

10 Simple Home Improvements for Seniors


Are you 55 or older? What would be the simple improvements to make your home get you another ten years of usability?

AARP does annual surveys to assess the desire to age in place, and the means which people are employing to do so. This annual survey, in its fifth year, looked at who made what improvements and what was the benefit. 70% did at least one modification that made it easier to live at home. Half of them believe the simple modification will make living at home longer possible, adding as much as 10 years to the livability of their home. The 30% that did not make any improvements to their home cited physical and financial limitations.

The home improvements cited most frequently were:

  1. Levered doorknobs.
  2. Grab bars in bathrooms.
  3. Levered faucets in kitchen sinks.
  4. Handrails on both sides of stairwells and on front and rear steps.
  5. Grab bars in showers; removal of any door threshold.
  6. Movable shower heads for those who must sit.
  7. Portable shower seats.
  8. A bathroom with a bath/shower as well as a bedroom on the first floor.
  9. Widened doors to accommodate wheelchairs.
  10. Ramps for those using walkers and wheelchairs.

And who can stop at just one top 10 list? Here’s another that lists the main improvements to reduce chances of falls, the #1 killer for seniors – yes #1!. From AARP’s CDC report:

10 steps to make home a safer and more comfortable place:

  1. Install handrails on both sides of all steps (inside and outside);
  2. Secure all carpets and area rugs with double-sided tape;
  3. Install easy to grasp shaped handles for all drawers and cabinet doors;
  4. Use brighter bulbs in all settings;
  5. Install nightlights in all areas of night activity;
  6. Add reflective, non-slip tape on all non-carpeted stairs;
  7. Install lever handles for all doors;
  8. Place a bench near entrances for setting down purchases and resting;
  9. Install closet lights, as well as adjustable rods and shelves;
  10. Install rocker light switches; consider illuminated ones in select areas.

What are you waiting for? Get to work!

Konrad Kaletsch
Universal Design Resource
Join Universal Design Resource at LinkedIn