Renovating for Aging in Place – Creating a Forever Home

Renovating a home to facilitate aging in place involves making modifications that ensure comfort, safety, and independence for homeowners as they age. The goal is to create an environment that accommodates physical limitations and evolving needs. Key areas to focus on include bathrooms, kitchens, and overall home design, incorporating universal design principles.

Accessible Bathrooms

Bathrooms are critical areas to address due to the high risk of slips and falls. Consider the following modifications:

  1. Walk-in Showers and Bathtubs:
    • Install walk-in showers with low or no thresholds to eliminate tripping hazards.
    • Walk-in tubs with doors can also be beneficial for those who prefer baths.
    • Non-slip flooring and grab bars should be installed in both showers and tubs.
  2. Grab Bars and Handrails:
    • Strategically place grab bars around the toilet, shower, and bathtub to provide support and prevent falls.
    • Ensure bars are securely anchored to support weight.
  3. Raised Toilet Seats:
    • Install raised toilet seats to reduce the strain of sitting and standing. Consider models with built-in arms for additional support.
  4. Accessible Sinks and Vanities:
    • Opt for sinks that are wheelchair accessible, with open space underneath and easy-to-reach faucets.
    • Adjustable height counters and sinks can accommodate various needs over time.
  5. Lever-Style Faucets:
    • Replace traditional twist faucets with lever-style or touchless models for ease of use.


Kitchen Modifications

The kitchen is another area where accessibility and safety are paramount. Here are some key ideas:

  1. Adjustable Countertops:
    • Install countertops that can be adjusted in height to accommodate sitting or standing work positions.
    • Ensure that some counter space is at a comfortable height for wheelchair users.
  2. Pull-Out Shelves and Drawers:
    • Use pull-out shelves and drawers to reduce the need for bending and reaching.
    • Consider installing lazy Susans or pull-down shelves in upper cabinets.
  3. Accessible Appliances:
    • Choose appliances with controls at the front or side rather than the back.
    • Install wall ovens at a height that minimizes bending and lifting.
    • Opt for side-by-side refrigerators/freezers for easier access.
  4. Lever Handles and Easy-to-Use Controls:
    • Replace round knobs with lever handles on cabinets and drawers.
    • Ensure that appliance controls are easy to read and use.


Universal Design Principles

Universal design focuses on creating spaces that are usable by all people, regardless of age, size, or ability. Key principles include:

  1. Single-Level Living:
    • If possible, design or modify homes to include all essential living spaces on one level, reducing the need for stairs.
  2. Wide Doorways and Hallways:
    • Ensure doorways and hallways are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers (at least 36 inches wide).
  3. No-Step Entry:
    • Create a no-step entry into the home to facilitate easy access for those with mobility issues. Consider installing ramps where needed.
  4. Non-Slip Flooring:
    • Use non-slip flooring materials throughout the home to reduce the risk of falls. Consider materials like textured vinyl, cork, or rubber.
  5. Adequate Lighting:
    • Install ample lighting throughout the home, including task lighting in key areas like the kitchen and bathroom. Motion-sensor lights can enhance safety at night.
  6. Easy-to-Reach Electrical Outlets and Switches:
    • Position electrical outlets and light switches at accessible heights (15-48 inches from the floor) to ensure they are easy to reach.
  7. Smart Home Technology:
    • Integrate smart home systems for lighting, security, and climate control that can be operated via voice commands or mobile devices.


Additional Considerations

  • Stairlifts or Elevators: In multi-level homes, consider installing a stairlift or a residential elevator to maintain accessibility.
  • Emergency Response Systems: Install emergency response systems or medical alert devices that can quickly connect to help if needed.
  • Outdoor Accessibility: Ensure that pathways, patios, and outdoor living spaces are accessible, with even surfaces and ramps where necessary.


By implementing these modifications, homeowners can create a safe, comfortable, and functional environment that supports aging in place, promoting independence and quality of life.

If you’re building or renovating a home to last through all your ages, contact La Pera’s General Contracting! La Pera’s General Contracting in Panama City, Florida has a team of professional and licensed contractors experienced in every area of construction, from remodeling to new home builds! We are equipped to help you make the right decision for your home and for your budget. We strive to give our clients options, as well as sound advice based on solutions that work. If you have questions about your construction project, call La Pera’s General Contracting today! We will provide you with a detailed estimate by a professional contractor.

Panama City Office

13919 FL-77
Southport, FL 32409
Field: 407-704-9547
Estimating: 850-625-9646
Office: 850-625-9646



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