Adapting Your Home To Age-in-place

By Starr Munro

View all articles by this author

Seniors who want to age gracefully in their own homes or with their family, find that simple home modifications improve their quality of life, reduce opportunities for accidents and longer periods of time are spent independently in a familiar environment.

How to make a home more accommodating for aging-in-place:


- Widen walkways and entrances into and throughout your home

- Replace steps outside your home with a graduated ramp

- Install handrails along walkways and steps

- Add non-slip grip on and around stairs and entrances

- Eliminate step-down or step-up door thresholds

- Add colour contrast to door entrances, especially if there is a change in floor texture or grade of door threshold


- Install sensor lights outside to illuminate walkways and steps

- Make sure all stairwells are well lit with easy-to-reach light switches

- Install two-way light switches at all entrances and exits, rooms and stairwells

- Ensure there is sufficient lighting around all appliances, halls and doorways

- Add electrical outlets in easy to reach locations


- Replace heavy doors with doors that are easier to open and close

- Install intercoms or flashing lights to replace doorbell

- Install lever handles and relocate locks to convenient locations


- Relocate commonly accessed rooms and appliances (such as laundry, bedroom, bathrooms. kitchen etc) to main floor level

- Install stair lift systems if main rooms in house cannot be relocated for easier access

- Install extended handrails at top and bottom of stairs

- Replace worn carpet or stair coverings


- Adjust sink and countertop height to a convenient working level

- Install easy-to-grip-and-adjust lever faucets

- Remove cupboards to create knee space for sitting at counter or sink

- Lower existing cupboards and shelves

- Add pullout storage devices to ground-level cupboards

- Install electrical outlets in convenient locations (add colour contrast to outlets for greater visibility)


- Pad or eliminate sharp corners and turns within the bedroom

- Secure corners of rugs, carpets or floor coverings

- Install vertical grab bars near bed

- Install light switches that illuminate room near bed and doorway

- Install phone near bed for emergencies


- Install grab bars at strategic locations around bathroom

- Install non-slip flooring

- Install walk-in shower or transfer bench in bathtub

- Add vertical grab bar inside tub/shower entrance

- Adjust hot water heater to ensure tub/shower temperature is moderate

- Insert a waterproof light fixture in tub or shower

- Raise toilet seat to a convenient height

- Relocate toilet paper roll to easy-to-reach area


- Install lights in closets

- Install easy-to-reach shelves and/or clothing rods

- Add hooks or drawers in convenient-to-reach locations

Daily Activities

- Relocate appliances to convenient location within rooms

- Adjust shelves and add countertops to reduce need to bend or stretch excessively

- Widen door wells, hallways and rooms to allow for walkers, canes and wheelchairs

To determine the home adaptations that best suit your needs, define which daily activities are challenges or often result in near accidents. Specialized adaptations can be made to any home for most mobility issues, visual challenges and hearing impairments. Friends or family can quickly install some adaptations, while others will require contractors or specialists. Contact your local disability resource centre, senior resource centre or CMHC for more information and resources on home adaptations that suit your needs.

Home Adaptations for Seniors' Independence

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) operates a program specifically designed to help homeowners and landlords cover the costs associated with making minor home adaptations, in order to extend the time seniors are able to live independently in their homes.

The program is called the Home Adaptations for Seniors’ Independence (HASI)

Up to $3,500 is available as a forgivable loan that does not have to be repaid, as long as the homeowner agrees to occupy the residence in which the adaptations were made for a minimum of six months.

Minor home adaptations that qualify for funding include such modifications as the installation of:

- handrails;

- easy-to-reach work and storage areas in the kitchen;

- lever handles on doors;

- walk-in showers with grab bars; and or

- bathtub grab bars and seats.

Many other minor home adaptations that benefit seniors with age-related disabilities may qualify for funding under the HASI program. All home adaptations covered by this program should be permanent and fixed to the dwelling. Any work carried out before the loan is approved in writing is not eligible for funding, so be sure to contact CMHC in advance of making any modifications to your home.

This article has been viewed 8604 times.


Showing 1 to 1 of 1 comments.

Toolbox Renovations is a local Victoria company specializing in home renovations for seniors who want to continue living safely and comfortably in their own homes. Give us a call for a no charge assessment and estimate. 250-818-9793 Regards, Steve Burgess Certified tradesman

Posted by Steve Burgess | February 4, 2013 Report Violation

Post A Comment

Comments that include profanity, personal attacks, or antisocial behavior such as "spamming," "trolling," or any other inappropriate material will be removed from the site. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our "terms of use". You are fully responsible for the content you post. Senior Living takes no responsibility for the views and opinions of members using this discussion area.

Submit Articles

Current Issue

Search For Articles


Subscribe To
The Magazine