Updating Your House for Old Age

Minor alterations can help you live in your own home longer.

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My 89-year-old grandmother recently had a new washer and dryer installed on the ground floor of her house so that she will no longer have to navigate the stairs to do her laundry in the basement. And several years ago she had grab bars installed in the shower to prevent her from slipping, which is one of the most common home alterations for older homeowners, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Like my grandmother, 89 percent of people over age 50 wish to remain in their own homes indefinitely, AARP found. But sometimes seniors need to make minor remodels so they can stay in their home longer. The most common (and affordable) remodels for older homeowners are:

  • Installing grab bars in bathrooms and showers
  • Replacing door and faucet handles with easy-to-grasp levers
  • Creating no-step doors and entryways
  • Adding seated work areas in the kitchen
  • Improving lighting and creating color contrast
  • Source: National Association of Home Builders, 2008

    Tell us, do you have any tips that helped you or relatives stay in a home longer?