Accessible Design Home Modifications For Seniors and People With Disabilities

One out of every two people in the United States has some type of disability that limits their daily living. The disability could be from a stroke, a fall, or another age-related difficulty. With approximately 70 million people in this age category, it presents a large segment of the population.

For most seniors, staying at home as they age (aging-in-place) is a big priority. More than 90 percent of persons surveyed age 65 and older would prefer to stay in their current residence as long as possible.

Accessible Home Modifications allow people to stay at home longer instead of moving to a care facility. People that stay in their own home have increased self-esteem, see friends and family members more often, and are generally happier. A caregiver may be needed but this is a thriving industry and help is just a phone call away.

What Can Be Done to Make a Home Accessible and Barrier-Free?

Make the Bathroom Safer

Most accidents in the home happen in the bathroom. Making sure the bathroom is safe and accessible is probably the first place to examine.

Grab Bars should be placed inside the shower and directly outside the shower entrance. They can also be placed next to the toilet.

Raise your toilet with a Toilevator toilet spacer. This device goes underneath the base of the toilet and raises it up 3.5 inches. This is safer and cleaner than using a toilet elevator on top of the seat.

Add Non-Slip Shower Strips to the floor of the shower or bathtub. These are inexpensive and easy to install and prevent slipping while standing in the shower.

Living Room and Bedroom

A lot of time is spent in the living room and bedroom standing and sitting. Make sure carpets and rugs are flat to avoid tripping over them.

Provide ample lighting, especially near stairways, to avoid tripping or walking into things.

Devices such as Couch Canes, Super Poles, and Bed Canes make it easier and more stable for standing and sitting. They also take the pressure off the knees.

Furniture Risers (sofa risers) can be placed under the legs of sofas, chairs, or beds to lift them up a few inches making it easier to stand or sit.

The Kitchen

Accidents in the kitchen many times stem from reaching up high in cabinets.

Use a Step Stool With a Handle for stability and to make it easier to reach items.

A Portable Reacher can grasp items high up in a cabinet.

Outside the Home

Make sure walkways are free of cracks and stairs are lighted for night. Mark them with colored tape or paint so it is easier to see the steps or changes in elevation.

Handrails along walkways or near steps and doorways give something to hold onto in problem areas.

There are numerous solutions for making a home safer and more accessible. Many of them can be done simply by looking around and making minor adjustments. Others are bigger jobs that require a contractor, such as adding a stairlift.

Check for contractors that are CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialists) certified to ensure they are qualified to do the work.