Aging in Place 5 Essential Home Renovations for Seniors


For many older Americans, aging well means aging in place. Here are some Home renovations for seniors age comfortably in their own homes. Your home equity can help you pay for improvements.

Discover how remodeling your home can enable you or your loved ones to age comfortably in place. This informative blog post provides important information and renovation plans that will help seniors maintain independence and safety in their own homes. Learn about the 5 essential home renovations that can significantly improve the quality of life for seniors as they age. Start creating a safe and accessible environment today!

For many seniors, living well means living comfortably at home. As people age, however, physical challenges can make it hard to get around the house. One solution is to remodel the space to accommodate these challenges.

A major home remodel can cost thousands of dollars. But its often less costly than senior living alternatives. A basic unit in an assisted living facility, for example, runs about $43,000 a year, according to the latest Cost of Care survey from Genworth Financial.

» MORE: Renovate with the FHA 203(k) or HomeStyle loan

Whether you renovate for yourself or a loved one, remodeling a home for aging in place can be a smart move. Here are top renovation suggestions for seniors, along with average costs:

Widen doorways

If doorways are narrower than 32 inches, you may need to expand them to accommodate a wheelchair or other mobility device. A contractor would typically need to replace the existing frame and add insulation, drywall and paint. The job might also entail moving and rewiring light switches.

The cost to widen a doorway varies, especially if theres electrical work required. Expect to pay from $400 to $600 each.

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Install lever-style doorknobs

Levers are usually easier to grip than round doorknobs, and they dont require a twisting motion. That can be especially helpful for people who have arthritis or other conditions that limit motion. You can find lever-style knobs at home improvement stores starting around $20 each. Changing doorknobs can be a do-it-yourself task, or you might hire a handyman.

» MORE: See how the CHOICERenovation loan can help

Put grab bars in bathrooms

These heavy bars can help prevent falls because of slippery tubs, shower stalls and floors. You can generally find grab bars at home improvement stores for $20 to $30 each. The cost to have them professionally installed runs about $100 each, materials included.

Replace flooring with slip-resistant material

Vinyl and linoleum can provide more traction than slick, hard stone floors, and the somewhat softer material can be more forgiving when someone falls. Bamboo and cork are also popular, though more expensive, floor choices.

Expect to pay about $3 to $4 per square foot to buy and install vinyl or linoleum floors. Cork averages about $5, and bamboo costs between $5 and $7 per square foot.

If you dont have a budget to replace a floor right away, make sure you at least replace or repair any damaged areas. Uneven tiles and other defects pose trip-and-fall hazards for people of all ages.

Add a wheelchair ramp

Even if no one in the home has an immediate need for a wheelchair, a ramp can eliminate the need to climb stairs to enter the home. The average cost to build a wheelchair ramp is about $1,500.

Adjust kitchen countertops

Regular countertops stand about 34 inches off the floor; installing cabinets and countertops at a more accessible 30 inches can make it easier for someone using a wheelchair or scooter to prepare food. The cost varies depending on kitchen size, but to remodel about 30 linear feet of space, budget at least $5,000.

Install a chair lift or elevator

If a home has multiple levels, an elevator or chair lift that attaches to stairs can help seniors move between floors. The average cost of a motorized chair lift is between $3,000 and $4,000, while an elevator installation often tops $20,000, according to

The National Association of Home Builders has a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist designation for contractors who help homeowners remodel to accommodate elderly loved ones. You can contact a CAPS professional to get advice on modifications, plan a renovation and find qualified contractors.

Paying for aging-in-place home renovations

Most expenses for home renovations will need to be paid out of pocket. Medicare or private insurance may cover the cost of medical equipment thats installed in a home, but they generally dont pay for home remodel projects.

Some seniors may qualify for a limited number of home improvement grants, based on their income and where they live. The Department of Health and Human Services website has more details.

Another option is to tap home equity with a mortgage refinance or home equity line of credit.

Many seniors prefer to live in familiar surroundings as they grow older. Completing a home renovation — with an eye toward elder care needs — can help seniors maintain independence while enjoying the comforts of home.

Image via iStock.

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Aging in Place Essential Home Renovations for Seniors

Aging in Place Essential Home Renovations for Seniors

Aging in Place Essential Home Renovations for Seniors