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Home Safety and Modifications for Aging at Home

senior woman smiling at the bottom of a staircaseDo you have an elderly loved one that wants to stay home in their later years? You probably think its impossible for them to stay home and be safe. But home modifications are easier than ever and more elderly people are able to stay home as opposed to other living situations such as assisted living, or a nursing home. Staying home for many seniors helps with their emotional well-being and is often more cost effective than other housing options. A home modification takes a living space and transforms it so that person can live safely and independently. Some simple home modifications are a grab bar in the shower or a more extensive modification as a wheelchair ramp. Most seniors live in older homes that were built long before builders thought about designing spaces that are accessible and livable for everyone no matter what the situation. When the house was built that narrow stairway or doorway was probably not an issue. The shower had no grab bar and the lighting was low in the bathroom which is not a huge deal. But when you are 80 and your eyes and mobility have decreased a little those things pose as a safety issue moving forward.

Evaluating the home to determine what modifications are necessary is the first step in the process. You can start by going through each room and looking for areas of improvement. When evaluating the rooms it is good to ask yourself what is the accessibility, adaptability and safety of this room? Ask yourself can the senior move around safely? Is everything accessible to the senior? Are there things that could be easier to reach or use?

How to make a home more accommodating:


  • Widen walkways throughout home
  • Replace broken steps or cracked sidewalks outside or add a graduated ramp
  • Add handrails for walkways and steps
  • Add non-slip grip on and around stairs and entrances


  • Add electrical outlets that are easy to reach
  • Ensure sufficient lighting around appliances, halls, stairwells and doorways
  • Install two way light switches for entrances, exits, rooms and stairwells


  • Install flashing lights or an intercom in place of doorbells
  • Install lever handles and relocate locks to convenient locations
  • Replace heavy doors with easier to open doors


  • Relocate commonly accessed rooms or appliances to the main floor level
  • Install stair lift system
  • Add extended handrails at top and bottom of stairs
  • Replace worn carpet or stair coverings


  • Add easy to grip faucets
  • If shelves are too high lower them
  • Add pullout storage devices in cupboards


  • Secure corners of rugs or carpets
  • Install vertical grab bars near bed
  • Add a phone near bed for emergencies


  • Add non slip flooring and grab bars
  • Add a walk in shower or a shower bench
  • Raise toilet seat to a convenient height
  • Relocate toilet paper to a easy to reach area

If you are considering a home modification but you are not sure where to start give us a call. Relevar Home Care is available to help with in home assessments; home modifications and helping your loved one remain at home safely. Call us at (888) 493-3513 for assistance; we service several counties such as Lapeer and Macomb.