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Home Modifications for Aging in Place

There is a big gap between the percentage of people who want to age in place and the homes that are ready for someone to successfully age in their existing home. A 2021 AARP survey showed that 77% of people over age 50 expressed a preference to age in place, but a 2020 report cited in a National Library of Medicine article stated that only 10% of American homes are “aging ready.”

Aging in Place Home Modifications

Without moving into a retirement community, independent living facility, or assisted living home, there will likely be a need to modify the home someone has been living in for years where they are most comfortable. This might sound counter-intuitive if the goal is for remaining the same, but as people age their physical abilities change and there can be risks of a fall or other accident in a home.

Do you need aging in place remodeling? These changes may not involve a full remodel, just some simple additions—or subtractions—to make their rooms safe when they are home alone, possibly navigating walking with changes in vision or experiencing side effects from medication.

Accessible Home Modifications

Perhaps your first thought when hearing the term, “accessible home” is wheelchair ramp. The reality is that there is so much more to making a home accessible for people who are living with changing physical abilities due to normal aging or those who are experiencing symptoms of a chronic condition.

Just like a care plan is created based on individual preferences and needs, home modifications for aging in place should be customized to the individual and their unique choices and circumstances. The goal is to make a home safer and easier to navigate for someone whose mobility has been affected. Home modifications can include grab bars, ramps, updated lighting, adding handrails, and other measures to lower the risk of falls.

Consider doing a checklist to assess if someone is ready to age in place. When discussing this delicate topic, remember that the goal is supported independence and honoring their wishes, not implying that they are feeble or incompetent.

Let’s go room by room to see the most likely changes needed for optimum safety:


Aging in place kitchen design should factor in whether this person wants to do their own cooking or prefers or reheating most of their meals, or even using a service to provide meals. There are some inherent dangers in any kitchen—a wet floor that is caused by water from the sink or the refrigerator where someone might fall; a burner left on that can lead to a burn or even a fire; waste or expired food attracting pests. Some changes can be easily remedied such as improving the lighting, but others like swapping out gas or electric stovetops for pricey induction models might not be an option. As in every room, be sure to reduce clutter and make everyday items easy to reach.


The bathroom is considered the most dangerous room in the home, based on the number of injuries that happen here each year. The most common accidents in the bathroom are when someone slips and falls entering or exiting the bathtub or showering, but there are also incidents when using the toilet. Grab bars are a relatively affordable option to add for using the toilet and the tub or shower. Other surprising bathroom hazards for seniors include water temperature, bathmats, and poor lighting. Each of the issues can be solved without hiring a contractor.


Stairs are a high risk for falls for the elderly and others with medical conditions that might affect their vision or cause dizziness. The solution is to make sure existing handrails are sturdy and if there aren’t railings, to get some installed soon. Also, make sure there is easy-to-reach lighting at the top and bottom of the staircase and that it illuminates the entire area.


In every home, the entryway or mudroom is a place for clutter—shoes, coats, hats, mail, keys, shopping bags, and more. Although it’s convenient to have these items right by the door, it can also lead to tripping hazards. Lighting in this spot is critical so that someone can see the objects around them and navigate their way into the home. You add hooks and shelves to get clutter out of the way.


A bedroom is a sanctuary of coziness where everyone goes to relax, usually in complete darkness and without distractions. However, for it to also be secure, install nightlights, preferably those that can be activated without having to cross the room in the dark. Is there a clear path to the bathroom? Can the door be easily opened and closed?

Aging in Place Technology

When someone chooses the independence of aging in place in their familiar surroundings and neighborhood, they don’t want to be spied on so that their relatives are reassured. Increasingly, there are options for people to have both their autonomy and connection so that others know if they need help.

Homewatch Connect™ is a way for clients to communicate with their family and their care team using their TV and a basic remote control. Upcoming features will include sensors to monitor various aspects of wellbeing and alert someone when something is wrong.

A call button worn on a wrist or as a necklace can be pushed when there is an emergency.

Homewatch CareGivers Home Safety Evaluation

When a family or individual is first interested in home care services with Homewatch CareGivers, they can schedule a complimentary consultation that includes a home safety and fall prevention evaluation, which can be used to improve a home’s accessibility. Find the office near where you need home care today.

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