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6 Essential Home Modifications for Aging in Place

Updated: Apr 17


Growing older doesn’t have to mean moving out of the house you love. Although seniors may experience a higher risk of injury from falls, many aging-in-place products and home modifications can help them stay safe.


A senior couple hugging each other living in a safe house
Growing older doesn’t have to mean moving out of the house you love.

Here are six home remodelling ideas to consider for your own home—or for your loved ones —and most can be installed in only a few hours.



 

1. Grab Bars


Bathrooms are designed with hard and slippery surfaces, so it’s no surprise that this is where about 80% of seniors fall at home. Luckily, grab bars prevent falls by helping seniors balance and move around with ease. Contractors usually install grab bars where extra support may be needed, like near the toilet, or in the shower or bathtub.


An L-Shaped Grab Bar installed in the shower by BuildAble to prevent falls by helping seniors balance and move around with ease
The L-Shaped Grab Bar, available for same-day installation through RapidAccess by BuildAble

Grab bars come in different styles and shapes to match your bathroom design, and accommodate individual accessibility needs. The L-shaped bars give double the support, straight bars are versatile, and corner-shaped bars fit seamlessly in showers. Textured bars also provide extra grip, whereas stainless steel models give a more modern, sleek look. Each type of grab bar improves balance and stability, and some luxurious designer bars even function as a shelf to hold body care products.


To learn which grab bars are right for you, check out: Grab Bars—What You Need to Know!


 

2. Tub Cuts


If your bathroom doesn’t have a walk-in shower, tub cuts are an easy and cost-effective solution to avoid dangerous slips. In less than 2 hours, your bathtub can be turned into a step-in shower so you can get in and out with peace of mind—and without losing your footing.


There are different tub cuts to choose from, including The Standard option that works for almost all types of tubs. Or, the Ultra-Low option that is perfect for deep soaker tubs. Both have a water-tight seal and an anti-slip surface that can be stepped on.



For extra protection against slipping, another aging-in-place product to consider is an anti-slip treatment on the base of the tub/shower. Contractors can apply the durable coating to the tub cut step and floor of your bath, often as a same-day service or during other bathroom renovations. Anti-slip products are also more reliable because mats lose suction over time.


 

3. Raised Toilets


Sitting and standing when using the toilet can be straining on your joints and muscles, especially for wheelchair users. In addition to using grab bars, raising the height of your toilet bowl or seat gives you the accessibility you need.


There are three modification options for adjusting your toilet, including:


  1. Replacing your toilet with a taller model: The standard height of most toilets is 15 inches tall, but taller versions, called “Right-Height” Toilets, resemble the size of typical dining chairs and make it much easier to transfer on and off with ease.

  2. Adding a Toilet Base Riser: Bases are 3.5 inches tall and fit underneath your toilet, giving an instant lift to your bathroom. These often pair well with a Right-Height toilet, adding function and support without looking institutional.

  3. Buying a raised toilet seat: These removable products that snap onto your existing toilet seat are widely available online or at home hardware stores. Raised seats are convenient and low-cost but aren’t the best long-term solution: they’re difficult to clean and may become less stable over time.


 

4. Removable Shower Heads


Fixed shower heads are popular but not always accessibility-friendly. As an alternative, removable shower heads are ideal for family homes and the elderly because they’re functional for both standing or seated positions. They also help seniors or caregivers reach different angles and control water pressure for therapeutic benefits. Whether you need the versatility for yourself or your loved ones, adjustable showerheads are a must-have aging-in-place product.

A bathroom renovated with removable shower heads which makes it  accessible for the elderly
Removable shower heads are accessibility-friendly and ideal for family homes and the elderly because they’re functional for both standing or seated positions.


 

5. Good Lighting


Besides bathroom modifications, your kitchen is also an important room to safeguard. Good lighting is key for the safe use of stoves, knives, and small appliances.


One way to make cooking safer is installing lighting that’s within reach. Make sure your light switches are accessible at the entrance of every room or install automatic lighting that turns on as you enter the kitchen. For example, under-cabinet lighting helps illuminate the counters and floor so you can watch where you chop or step.


A kitchen with good lighting making safer to use appliances
Good lighting is key for the safe use of stoves, knives, and small appliances in kitchen.

You also can’t go wrong with maximizing the natural light in your home, but LED lights are the next best option. They’re the most energy-efficient and safe choice, as they save you money on electricity and reduce the risk of house fires.


 

6. Slip-Resistant Flooring


Slips don’t always happen in bathrooms, so updating your kitchen or hallway flooring is another useful home modification. It’s best to avoid installing slippery tiles or hardwood with glossy finishes, as well as decorating with area rugs. Unless your carpets have grip mats underneath, they can become a tripping hazard for the elderly. And lastly, anti-fatigue mats are commonly used in kitchens or home offices to ease joint pain and improve blood flow while standing for extended periods.


As you can see, there are many ways to make your home safe and functional without sacrificing design. Home renovations don’t have to be major construction projects either, because products as simple as grab bars can make all the difference.


 

You can shop our RapidAccess solutions, and book your same-day service online at https://www.buildable.ca/fast-bathroom-renovations-ottawa!

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