Remodeling options that allow you to age in place

March 29, 2017 10:12 pmc
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The National Aging in Place Council reports that more than 90 percent of older adults would prefer to age in place rather than move to senior housing or having to move in with the kids. This is also something we hear from many of our clients. They worked all their lives to build their dream home, and now that they are retired they want to enjoy it for as long as possible.

So when you are remodeling your home, think about your future needs. It takes a little long-term planning. Baby Boomers want a stylish home that will also allow them to remain self-sufficient longer. As these homeowners update their homes they add things now that they may need later. In fact, a survey by the Houzz real estate website found that 20 percent of older adults remodeled a kitchen last year and, of those, 60 percent made upgrades with aging in mind. Of the seniors who upgraded a bathroom, 69 percent added an upgrade that will make life easier when they get older.

There are many things to consider ranging from accessibility and barrier-free living to maintenance and upkeep of the place.

Need some inspiration? Here are some areas to consider:

Barrier-free bathrooms and kitchens

Barrier-free living is design for those with physical limitations or other disabilities, involving the provision of alternative means of access to steps such as ramps and elevators for those with mobility problems. It also includes bathroom and kitchen designs that reduce trip and slip hazards and feature showers that are flush with the floor or bathtubs that have opening that make entry easy. Making sure that passageways are wide enough is also something to consider.

Stairs and ramps

Those living in two-story homes can’t just stop using the upstairs. Tools ranging reinforced handrails to installing stair lifts can help to navigate the obstacle.

Sunken living rooms or other architectural details could turn out to be a challenge, as people get older. It may be worth addressing them during a bigger remodeling project.

Entryways that have stairs leading up to the door can easily retrofitted with ramps as needed. They can be designed to look attractive and blend in. Don’t imagine an ugly ramp, consider options such as creating a no-step entrance that blends into the landscape and make it look like an extension of the sidewalk

Faucets, door knobs, controls

Many older people start experiencing arthritis or have issues that make it harder to use faucets, twist knobs or manipulate the tiny buttons on the thermostat. Manufacturers are now producing a number of products solely created for an older demographic. Everything from easy-grip handles and bigger knobs to motion- or even voice-activated light switches and faucets are now available. Replace doorknobs with levers.


It’s to admit but the time will come when it will be hard to climb on a chair or stepping stool to get a serving platter from the top shelf. If you plan a remodel of a kitchen keep that in mind as you plan storage. Storage, cabinetry and pantries can be built with adjustable shelves so items can be stored at eye level.

Also think about the height of countertops. Could you comfortably use your work surfaces, cooking or prep areas if you were in a wheelchair? Planning for alternatives will pay off later. Your contractor could design base cabinets that are removable, so the countertop can become a workspace for a person who seated on a stool or wheelchair.

Wide doors and hallways

Should you need a walker or wheelchair as you age, you need to make sure that you can navigate your home without bumping into walls. We recommend a minimum of 36-inches wide hallways or wider and doors that allow you to easily pass through in a wheelchair. Also, which way do your doors open? How about closet doors? Could you open any door in your home if you were in a wheelchair or used a walker?

Grab bars

Installing some grab bars in strategic areas is also a way to help with mobility. There are areas such as the bathrooms where having a grab bar may help prevent a fall. Then there are areas such as hallways or near stairs where they could make walking easier. They don’t have to be ugly. Grab bars can be designed to blend with your décor.


As you age it becomes harder to perform the little do-it-yourself maintenance tasks. To make it easier for yourself, choose high quality materials that are easy to clean and are durable.

Extra space

Some people outfit a guest bedroom with an en suite in case they will have a live-in caretaker. Others add an addition or convert a space into a separate apartment for rental income now and future caregiver later. If you never need in-home care, you have the perfect space for family members to come visit you.

Make changes all at once or over time

Remodels are not cheap, so it may be comforting to know that you don’t have to do all of this all at once. If you are thinking about a remodel that will take you into old age, you should share your plans with your home remodeling contractor. This contractor should conduct a thorough evaluation, and together you can set priorities. Outline your future plans and ask for solutions. Together you can create a home that will work for many decades to come.

Of course, our team at Majestic is always here to help. Give us a call and schedule a consultation: (405) 973-5068.

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This post was written by Blake Davis