Home accessibility is an issue you might not think much about. But after a loss of mobility, accident, or other medical condition, it can become a top priority.
Depending on your specific situation, you may need to make a variety of modifications to improve the accessibility of your home. But how do you determine what changes you need?
This guide answers the most frequently asked questions about home accessibility.
There’s a lot that goes into staying independent as you age. Genetics plays a key role, of course. But you can also support your continued independence.
The more you engage in these activities, the more likely you are to remain independent and age in place.
“Aging in place” means staying in a home setting instead of moving into an assisted living, nursing home, or other facility. For example, you might remodel your current home, move into a smaller home better-suited to your needs, or move in with an adult child, either in the main home or a granny pod.
According to a 2018 survey from the AARP, 75% of retirees want to age in place rather than move into an assisted living or nursing home.
Independence, improved health outcomes, lower costs, and social connections are a few advantages of aging in place. Let’s look at each advantage individually.
Senior living facilities offer many amenities for those who need them. But few facilities allow aging adults to remain as independent as they would if they stayed in their own homes.
This is important both on a psychological level for seniors, as well as physical and cognitive. When people are more responsible for their own care and their own home, they are generally happier and healthier.
How can someone’s individual home be healthier than places that may have 24/7 medical care? It’s simple — senior living facilities tend to have lots of people in varying states of sickness.
In other words, seniors are far more likely to get sick in a facility with other seniors than they are at home alone.
Even if aging in place renovations cost upwards of $9,000, that is much cheaper than the price of senior living facilities. Long-term care tends to cost upwards of $2,000-$3,000 per month! Even if home health aide services are needed in the home, there’s still a big savings in home modifications for older adults.
By staying home, seniors get to keep the connections they currently have. Many aging adults have been living in the same neighborhood for decades. And over that time, they have built up a strong social network.
If they’re forced to move into a senior living facility, many of those connections may fade, leading to loneliness and social isolation.
An accessible home was built or remodeled to allow seniors and others with limited mobility to live independently. If you or your loved one can easily navigate the home, use and reach appliances, and enjoy the space with ease, your home is accessible.
However, if you have trouble reaching light switches, can’t fit a wheelchair into certain doorways, or need to be carried from floor to floor, it’s time to make some changes.
While the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) don’t apply to private homes, they’re often consulted to make a home accessible. Many of the requirements refer to needs for spacing and stability. Here are home accessibility requirements for specific rooms.
This list is not exhaustive. To find out exactly what is required for your specific situation, consult a certified aging in place specialist.
Unfortunately, it is not a U.S.-based program, but rather a Canadian one. If you or your loved one live in Canada and would like more information, you can find it on the Canadian government’s website.
The cost can be as low as $900 or as high as $40,000, but most projects are around $9,000. It will depend on the modifications needed for your specific home.
Remodeling for wheelchair-accessibility may include:
Check out this budget the AARP has made based on some of the most common modifications for home accessibility.
Depending on your loved ones and their needs, you may want to change the functionality of each room. For example, a certified aging in place specialist may recommend moving bedrooms or bathrooms to the first floor of the house. That way, people with limited mobility can easily access them.
Reach out to a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). CAPS are contractors who have learned the information required to help your loved one to age in place. They are your go-to experts for assessing your needs and the current state of your home.
If you live in New Jersey or the Bucks County, Pennsylvania area, give us a call. We are Certified Aging in Place Specialists who will talk you through your options and the process.
Not all home modifications for accessibility require a huge remodel. Some of the most common ones include:
What’s needed will depend on your or your loved one’s medical state and the home itself.
The founder of Live in Place Designs LLC, Lori Bellport is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), a Senior Home Safety Specialist, and a Certified Senior Advisor. Lori and her team believe that, regardless of the limiting health conditions one may face, there is no need to lose contact with life, spontaneity, or the ability to self-renew and enjoy life.
Author: Lori Bellport