Older adults are now embracing aging in place. Most senior citizens struggle with common problems like mobility issues and arthritis.
For this reason, making some aging-in-place renovations would help. Keep reading to know more about what should be on your remodeling checklist.
What Does Aging-in-Place Mean?
As the name suggests, aging in place refers to the trend of older people staying in their homes for as long as possible. When planning to age in place, you need to make modifications to make your home more accessible.
Older adults should live in their preferred location and easily access their items. Making home improvements to prepare for aging in place is the first step. Here are a few aging-in-place home renovations to try out.
The Best Home Remodels for Aging-in-Place
Most changes will need to be made in your bathroom and the entryways. Let’s check the ideas out:
- Bariatric walk-in tub: Adding a model with low step-in and added safety features make getting in and out of the tub much more effortless. Bariatric walk-in tubs are ideal for homeowners with limited mobility and those who weigh more than 600 pounds.
- Walk-in tub shower combo: Most walk-in tub shower combos allow you to change the spray settings to your liking. With this feature, you can enjoy the feeling of a traditional shower without having to install a tub and shower separately.
- Add grab bars: Homeowners with mobility problems and prone to falls should consider installing two grab bars in the bathroom. High-end come walk-in tubs with dual grabs for added grip when getting in and out of the tub.
- Install a toilet riser: Besides installing a wheelchair-accessible walk-in tub, a toilet riser helps maintain independence while in the bathroom. It’s ideal for older adults with trouble sitting or standing independently, those recovering from surgery, or with poor balance.
- Wider bathroom door: Older homeowners using wheelchairs or walking canes can improve their mobility by installing a wider bathroom door. You get to maintain independence while moving in and out of the bathroom.
- Shower chair with wheels: Mobility shower chairs are waterproof and make it easy to maneuver while taking a bath. Some are foldable to make them portable and ideal for traveling. Transferring from your wheelchair to the bathroom or shower would be exhausting. Mobility shower chairs lower fatigue by limiting the number of transfers.
Making Your Entryways More Accessible
- Proper lighting: Our vision might blur as we become older. So that you don’t slip and fall, burn yourself when cooking, or bump into sharp corners, entryways need to be appropriately lit. A low-cost option to raise the overall safety standards of your living space is to add sufficient lighting.
- Wheelchair accessible ramp: Installing threshold ramps for patio or balcony access, or indoor stairs less than 6″ high, might allow homeowners who use wheelchairs to move independently.
- Handrails: It’s preferable to pair a wheelchair ramp with handrails. Handrails help maintain stability, lowering the likelihood of an accident.
- Replace knob handles: Installing lever-style door knobs makes it simpler for homeowners suffering from arthritis or have grip difficulties in opening doors.
- Stair lift: Installing a stair lift makes a home more accessible to seniors. Stair lifts lessen the possibility of injuries, are simple to operate, and help regain independence while moving around the house.
- Elevator: If you are an older adult with mobility limitations, installing an elevator in your house is beneficial. Likewise, if you have aging parents, they may move about freely without fear of slipping and falling. Seniors can move heavy bags or boxes more easily with the help of an elevator.
- Anti-slip flooring: Choosing a floor that is slip-resistant, suitable for wheelchair mobility, and feels comfortable underfoot helps older people age in place. Choosing ADA-compliant flooring options will reduce the danger of falls and slips.
- Night lights with motion sensors: These lights are suitable for use both inside and outdoors. They are cordless, battery-powered, and simple to install in locations where a power source is not accessible. Night lights with motion sensors make it easier for seniors to navigate the kitchen, stairs, garage, and other areas.
How to Finance Home Improvements
If you want to finance your walk-in tub, you might consider getting a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage is available to homeowners aged 62 and over. It enables the applicant to borrow against the property if they own it or have at least 50% equity. You will not repay the debt. Instead, when you die, your heirs will sell the house and repay it.
You need a good credit score to qualify for a personal loan. Getting a personal loan for home improvements might be ideal if you’re looking to do small projects. Unlike a HELOC, personal loans attract fewer fees, and you won’t risk losing your home.
Home Equity Loans
Home equity loans provide you with access to a lump sum that you could use to finance home improvements. Your home equity is the amount you’ve already paid off.
The amount of equity must be higher than the mortgage balance to qualify for a home equity loan. Home equity loans, like HELOCs, offer lower interest rates than personal loans since your home secures them.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has programs that provide grants to service-connected and non-service-connected disabled Veterans for home renovations. Some of the programs a veteran could qualify for include:
- Specially Adapted Housing grant (SAH)
- Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant (HISA)
- Special Home Adaptation grant (SHA)
- Cash-out refinance loans
- Temporary Residence Adaptation grant (TRA)
Each category has its set of requirements. You need to review the options to know which one you qualify for.
Are Home Renovations That Help People Age in Place Tax Deductible?
Home improvements that are considered medical expenses are tax deductible. If the remodeling benefits a disabled person and does not increase the property’s value, the IRS regards it as tax deductible. Some of the upgrades that are tax deductible include:
- Widening the entryway
- Lowering the closet rods and faucets
- Installing a lift
- Adding grab bars in the bathroom
- Adding a ramp to the entrance
You may qualify for these deductions if you’re looking to age in place.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What’s the most common aging-in-place remodeling project?
Bathroom remodeling is the most common project amongst many older homeowners. Older adults looking to age in place would consider installing a high-end walk-in tub with safety features that reduce the chance of falls and slips.
Is it pricey to remodel for aging in place?
The average cost of aging-in-place upgrades is $3,000-$15,000, depending on the installation cost and the number of features. High-end walk-in tubs can cost as much as $10,000, while a grab bar could cost as little as $200.
How can I locate a qualified contractor for my aging-in-place home?
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and AARP have created the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) program. It lists several qualified contractors based on your location. Some are home remodelers, while others can be health professionals, such as occupational therapists specializing in physical mobility difficulties.
What features should an ADA-compliant bathroom have?
An ADA-compliant bathroom should have a low entry threshold, at least two grab bars, and an anti-slip textured floor. It should also be wheelchair accessible, among other things.
Final Thoughts on Aging in Place Renovations
The idea of aging-in-place isn’t challenging if you’re working with professionals and have a budget. You don’t have to make the modifications all at once. You can also try out the financing options available if you don’t have the cash to make pricey home upgrades.
With new home modification options breaking into the market, it’s worth weighing options and knowing which suits your needs. In other instances, settling in assisted living homes might be cheaper than making aging-in-place renovations. You must also work out a saving plan if you think loan repayments might be overwhelming.