Having accessible and usable common areas should also be a goal when remodeling for aging in place to increase home safety and create a more pleasant home experience for all. Many of these items are applicable to other rooms of the house, as well.
Doors and Openings
Every interior doorway in your home should be 32” wide at minimum. This allows for easier access by foot traffic, as well as makes them wheelchair accessible. (A 36” width is recommended.) If you have to replace a door, you should replace it with as 36” door, if possible.
Easy opening doors and drawers
To make all interior and exterior doors, cabinet doors, drawers, closet doors accessible by changing the way you open them.
- All door handles should be changed from standard door knobs to lever handles.
- All cabinet doors and drawers should have “D” type pulls. Open cabinets and shelves and/or slide-out shelves, are better.
Carpet and Flooring
All carpet and flooring need to be kept in good condition. Ripped flooring or loose carpet can increase the chances for tripping and falling. Consider replacing any worn carpeting with a safer low pile style or alternate floor covering.
By removing or reducing slippery surfaces you will reduce the possibility of falling. You may wish to consider replacing or covering slippery flooring with low pile carpeting or anti-skip applications You should also keep floor surfaces clean. This is especially true in areas like the bathroom and kitchen.
Remove all throw rugs and/or area rugs. Unsecured rugs are a leading cause for tripping and falling. Opt instead for non-slip flooring with no throw rugs at all.
Lighting is very important for maintaining a safe environment. Low lighting is hard on the eyes and reduces clear vision, which can increase the chance of tripping. Add task lighting in work areas, closets or other areas that need a little bit more light. (Task lights are less expensive than adding lighting fixtures and allow you to have the light exactly where you need it.) However, adequate fixtures in every room is necessary.
Convenient light switch locations that are easy to reach are very important. The ability to turn lights on and off before entering a room is critical to ensure safety. Rocker switches are best for usability. You could also consider installed lighted switch plates which will help in locating the light switch when it is dark.
More Aging in Place Home Ideas
Other aging in place topics