Builder and certified Aging in Place designer Sally Erickson Bornschein offers 13 ways you can modify your home so that it makes it easier to stay home as you age.
1 Task lighting—under-cabinet lighting in kitchen and workshop.
2 Step lighting and passageway lighting. Little nightlights between bed and bathroom are very important.
3 Taller toilets— called comfort height.
4 Hard surface driveways to support walkers.
5 Grab bars—put the blocking in during construction or remodeling (2-by-10’s behind the sheetrock).
6 Build with energy efficiency in mind. Seniors are moving toward a fixed income, low energy costs help them stay in their homes.
7 Secure locking systems.
8 Video camera at the door to see who is there.
9 For arthritis sufferers: Lever handles on the doors instead of knobs. D-style handles on cabinets rather than knobs. Single handle instead of two on faucets.
10 Paint trim and walls dramatically different shades (one light, one darker) to help people with poor eyesight guide themselves.
11 Install a 110 plug at the bottom of the stairway for a stair chair.
12 Employ nontoxic materials wherever possible. Asthma is a major problem for older people, so indoor air quality is important.
13 Consider “no step” design from driveway to bathroom for wheelchair accessibility.