4 Priority Home Remodeling Projects For the Senior Years

“Aging in place”—that’s the terminology used by government and other authorities for people who choose to stay in their own homes as they reach their senior years. If you’re getting on in years or expect an elderly relative to move in some day, it’s smart to start thinking about the future when you’re planning a home remodeling project. You can implement carefully planned changes a step at a time and avoid major expenses and inconvenience at a time when you’d rather be enjoying your retirement. A poll conducted by Angie’s List in May 2012 showed that 37% of people accessing the website are considering remodeling to provide for aging.


The bathroom is the most obvious home remodeling project most seniors need to have done. The majority of serious falls among seniors occur in the bathroom, so fitting secure handrails or “grab bars” is a top priority. Curb-free shower stalls reduce the risk of tripping as well as providing easy access for mobility aids. Whether you’re just fitting a transfer bench in the shower or going the whole hog with a walk-in bathtub, make sure you find a contractor who is experienced in installing specialized equipment.


The type of flooring you have in the home is a vital factor in the safety of seniors:

A drop of water spilled on ceramic tiles can turn the kitchen into a slippery rink, while uneven “cottagey” flagstones can cause deadly trips or falls.
Carpeting is difficult to keep clean and can occasionally be problematic for a senior using a cane, a walker or a wheelchair.
Find a contractor who understands the characteristics of the different flooring materials and can help you choose the best options for each room.


If you or a loved one ever needs to use a wheelchair indoors, getting in and out of rooms with narrow doorways can cause difficulties. If anyone in your family suffers from arthritis or other joint problems, aging in place may well require widening of the doorways to accommodate a variety of mobility aids. So before you embark on a home remodeling project and use up spare space that you could use for a doorway, think about whether this could be a requirement in your home at some point.


Multi-level homes are difficult for aging in place, particularly if they have narrow stairs. Seniors with limited mobility are likely to need help going up and down, and elevators are costly to install in a private home. Chair lifts work well, but they need space in which to operate. At the same time, even a two- or three-step rise can make moving around the house impossible to do without help. When you’re planning your next home remodeling project, keep in mind that you may want to widen the staircase to install a lift or add a handy ramp alongside the front entrance stairs.

Many of the home modifications necessary to accommodate seniors are eligible for state or federal grants. A capable home building or remodeling contractor will be able to advise you on your eligibility and how to apply. Make sure your loved ones stay safe in their twilight years by remodeling ahead of time to accommodate their physical difficulties.