An older man uses a circular saw inside while making home rennovations

Should I Modify My Home to Age in Place or Move Into Independent Living?

There’s a right time and place for everything. However, what may have been the right place at one time can change. Especially if your health and lifestyle changes. What may have started out as the ideal house for a growing family may not fit your current needs. If you want to age in place, your current home might not fit your future needs either.

That’s because it doesn’t take long for a home that was once perfect to become hazardous to your health and safety. As you try to decide between updating your home for aging in place or making the move to a community designed to support you now and in the future, here are some helpful suggestions to consider.

Age in Place Home Modifications

Falls are the number one cause of serious injury among older adults. Reducing trip hazards and adding safety features should be your top priority. If your mobility needs change, you’ll also want to make your home easier to get around. Here are some suggested changes to make.

  • Grab bars: Installing grab bars or railings in high fall risk areas like bathrooms and bedrooms can give you additional support and prevent slip and fall injuries. You should also install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower/bathtub since these surfaces get slippery.
  • Bathroom changes: Bathrooms are filled with hard surfaces. If you have to step up into your shower, even lifting your foot and leg a little bit could cause you to lose your balance. To reduce your chances of falling, consider installing a walk-in shower.
  • Outdoor ramp: Ramps eliminate the need to navigate steps, which can make maintaining balance difficult, even with a railing.
  • Add smart home technology: Items like a medical alert, home security and remote monitoring or communication systems can provide peace of mind to you and your family. You may also consider adding lights, entertainment systems and blinds that can be controlled with your smartphone or a remote.
  • Replace faucets: Touchless faucets on kitchen and bathroom sinks are great for people with arthritis or grip issues. You can also replace twist faucet handles with levers.
  • Update flooring: The carpet should be securely attached and no more than half an inch thick. Rugs are a major tripping hazard. In the bathroom, you’ll want to use non-slip tile.
  • Improve lighting: Put bright night lights in hallways and bathrooms, use table or floor lamps for sitting areas, and add adhesive tape lights under cabinets for extra countertop light.
  • Replace doorknobs: Replacing the round doorknobs with lever-style handles will make them easier to open. You may also want to switch out round kitchen cabinet knobs with bar- or lever-style handles.

How Much Does Aging in Place Cost?

Here’s what making some of the above home modifications can cost:

  • Widening doorways and hallways: This can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per doorway.
  • Installing ramps and grab bars: This can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
  • Modifying the kitchen and bathroom: This can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Adding night lights and better lighting: This can cost anywhere from $100 to $500.
  • Adding non-slip flooring: This can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.
  • Medical alert systems: This can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 per month.
  • Smart home devices: This can cost anywhere from $100 to $500.
  • Walk-in shower: A basic walk-in shower can cost between $1,000 and $12,000. More elaborate showers with features like built-in seats, benches or multiple shower heads can cost upwards of $20,000.

NOTE: One thing these modifications don’t consider is home maintenance and upkeep. Housekeeping, laundry, cooking, cleaning, lawn care and other general repairs should also be factored into your plans.

Benefits of Independent Living

Moving to a retirement community with independent living – like Edgewood Summit – can make life easier and more enjoyable. Here’s how:

  • Designed just for you: Senior living communities are designed to help you safely age in place and feature most, if not all, of the modifications listed above.
  • Eat healthier: Enjoy a chef-prepared meal that can accommodate your dietary needs without sacrificing flavor in one of our dining venues. 
  • All-inclusive: Our monthly fee covers indoor and outdoor maintenance, property taxes, your dining program and all our services and amenities.
  • Maintenance-free living: No more waiting around for a service call. Let our talented team handle all maintenance work and repairs. 
  • Calendar of activities: Take a fitness or art class, attend a presentation by a guest speaker, or get together with your neighbors. You can do as much, or as little, as you want.
  • Friendly neighbors: Being part of a supportive community can help improve your health and happiness. During this time of your life, it’s important to surround yourself with other interesting people.
  • Peace of mind: Edgewood Summit offers access to a full continuum of on-site care including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation at below-market rates, if ever needed.

Where You Age in Place Makes All the Difference

With residences and a lifestyle designed just for older adults, Edgewood Summit offers everything you’ll need to safely and happily age in place while maintaining your independence. You can learn more about the value of Edgewood Summit here. To see everything our community has to offer, contact us here to schedule your personal visit.