What Are Effective Home Improvement Tips for Aging-in-Place Renovations?


    What Are Effective Home Improvement Tips for Aging-in-Place Renovations?

    When it comes to making home improvements for aging-in-place, we've gathered seven unique tips from experienced professionals, including interior designers and a COO. From automating lighting for safety to utilizing motion-sensor lighting and AI tools, these insights can greatly enhance the comfort and safety of a home in the long term.

    • Automate Lighting for Safety
    • Pre-Install Support Framing
    • Install Security Systems
    • Integrate Smart-Home Technology
    • Design for Ease of Use and Navigation
    • Incorporate Simple Hardware Upgrades
    • Utilize Motion-Sensor Lighting and AI Tools

    Automate Lighting for Safety

    Lighting has always been an important focus for me when renovating a home. I feel there should be layers of light to work with in each space, not just for ambiance. Automated light sensors add a whole new dimension to lighting specifications. The ability to be hands-free and have the lights come on in a room, or a subtle glow under a bath or kitchen cabinet late at night, helps guide you without turning on all the lights. As we age, these little things can make a big difference in keeping us safe as we age in place.

    Jean Losier
    Jean LosierInteriorDesigner, CliveDanielHome

    Pre-Install Support Framing

    One of the biggest tips we give homeowners when they are preparing to deal with potential disabilities while living in their homes is the addition of support framing for future grab bars. When renovating a bathroom, taking the time to add a few extra support 2x6 fillers between your framing and along the walls at key locations before doing a custom tile job will save a tremendous amount of guesswork in the future. The homeowner may not need the grab bars installed now, but when it comes time to do so down the road, they will be grateful for this quick and inexpensive preparation step.

    Casey Marks
    Casey MarksChief Operating Officer, Marks Building Company

    Install Security Systems

    A home improvement tip I highly recommend for aging in place, which can be beneficial, is adding a security system. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 25% of crimes against individuals 65 or older occur at their homes. Having an alarm system allows individuals to remain in their homes as they age while staying protected. Security systems can also be connected with a bracelet or necklace that allows individuals to press a button, calling for help in case of an accident. Taking safety a step further can be done by adding audible and visual cues, such as an alarm and strobe lights, when safety devices are triggered, such as smoke and CO2 detectors.

    Meaghan DaiberFehrmannInterior Designer

    Integrate Smart-Home Technology

    One highly effective strategy I've discovered for making homes more age-friendly is the integration of smart-home technologies. By setting up systems that respond to voice commands and automating lighting, the day-to-day life of residents becomes both safer and more manageable. This approach aligns with my emphasis on innovation while also being customizable to individual requirements, ensuring that the house remains both comfortable and stylish. My passion for sustainable living drives me to select options that are energy-efficient and durable, offering extensive benefits to the household.

    Mike Drouin
    Mike DrouinCo-founder, Digital Marketing Director, Gardening & Home Improvement expert- Reefertilizer, Reefertilizer

    Design for Ease of Use and Navigation

    From our vast experience in custom modular home building, one innovative home improvement tip for aging-in-place renovations that stands out involves the incorporation of flexible room designs with pre-installed railing support systems within the walls. This proactive approach allows for easy installation of grab bars in bathrooms, hallways, and other areas without needing to locate studs or reinforce the wall later on. It addresses a common challenge in aging-in-place adaptations, ensuring the home can evolve with the resident's needs without significant structural alterations.

    We've also found that open floor plans with minimal level changes between rooms significantly enhance accessibility. By designing homes with fewer barriers, we create spaces that are easier to navigate with mobility aids such as wheelchairs or walkers. This strategy stemmed from our commitment to creating functional, energy-efficient homes tailored to meet the diverse needs of modern homeowners, as seen in our variety of custom modular homes from the Pine Creek to the spacious Radford model. These designs foresee the future possibility of mobility challenges, ensuring a seamless transition for homeowners as their lifestyle evolves.

    Lastly, incorporating smart home technology specifically tailored for aging individuals has been remarkably effective. Through our experiences, we've integrated systems that allow for voice or smartphone control of lighting, climate, and security. This technology not only promotes independence and ease of living but also provides peace of mind for both the residents and their loved ones. By prioritizing these smart integrations, we deliver homes that not only meet our high standards of aesthetics and energy efficiency but also assure a safer, more comfortable environment for aging in place.

    James Shorten
    James ShortenPresident, Shorten Homes

    Incorporate Simple Hardware Upgrades

    Put in a shower seat.

    For elderly folks, standing in the shower for extended periods can be taxing. When not in use, a folding shower bench can be stored away and provide them with much-needed rest.

    Switch the doorknobs for lever handles.

    For people with arthritis and other hand conditions, lever handles are far simpler to use than standard doorknobs.

    Make use of window hardware that is simple to use.

    Everybody needs a little fresh air now and then, but opening some windows is easier than opening others.

    Cameron Holland
    Cameron HollandMarketing Director, GB Foam

    Utilize Motion-Sensor Lighting and AI Tools

    A recent and very effective creation is that of motion-sensor lights. They illuminate automatically whenever they sense movement around them. These lights are energy-efficient, so there is no waste of electricity. They can benefit aging people as their vision and senses eventually decline. It helps them navigate freely and with confidence around their house.

    This is a simple yet effective tip for home improvement for aging-in-place renovations.

    Another useful trick is to install smart home monitoring systems that locate and track the daily activities of the members and detect changes, if any. These systems are very beneficial when it comes to medical emergencies or other critical issues.

    Some other AI tools, like virtual or voice-activated assistants like Google or Alexa, can help elderly people in many ways. They can complete various tasks, such as setting reminders and alarms, playing music, and making calls, without any physical intervention or touch.

    Overall, these technologies, when installed in aging-in-place settings, help elderly people to be more independent and enjoy their lives freely and peacefully.

    Jess Farinha
    Jess FarinhaFounder & CEO at London House Cleaners, London House Cleaners