Home Modifications Help Older Adults Age-in-Place and Improve Safety

As we age, many people start to experience mobility and balance problems. Falls are one of the biggest reasons older adults go to the emergency room and end up needing long-term health care. Being prepared is vital.

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Home Modifications Help Older Adults Age-in-Place and Improve Safety
6 Min Read February 9th, 2022

Where do you think you'll live in the decades ahead? Will changes in your health and body affect how comfortable you will be in your current home? Today, almost 90 percent of adults over age 50 want to age-in-place. Modifying your home for accessibility could help maintain your independence and make your dream a reality.

Maybe your older parents are still living at home. Is their home safe? Can they remain in that home - as is - without risk of falls?

Aging-in-place offers a lot of benefits. Often, you end up with a higher quality of life, ensuring you can remain in your preferred neighborhood and stay in the home you love. Plus, it can reduce your risk of illness compared to a senior living facility.

Being at Home is Preferable 

According to CDC data, more than 200,000 people in long-term care facilities have died since the virus crisis has started. These numbers include both residents and staff.

Being at home has many benefits, so how can you ensure you stay in your home, assuming it is your desire?

Making some simple and common-sense updates to your home will provide you with a home that can meet your changing needs, ensuring you can live there comfortably in the long term. 

Paying for Accessibility Modifications

In some cases, money is the only thing that holds older people back from modifying their homes. One way to pay for home modifications is cash-out refinancing which allows you to get the money you need to make it happen.

With cash-out refinancing, you'll replace your mortgage with a newer one that's for a larger dollar amount. Then, it pays off your existing mortgage, ensuring you only have one. After that, you receive the difference between the two loans as cash, giving you money for improvements. Take a moment to learn more about Bank of America mortgage rates refinance to find the best option for you.

Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages have changed in recent years, and if you are over age 62, you can use this type of mortgage. With this type of mortgage, you don't make payments. Plus, the equity in your own can be used for home modifications, paying Long-Term Care Insurance, enhancing your retirement lifestyle, and even funding in-home care if you cannot qualify for insurance. 

Learn more - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

Accessibility Updates to Make Aging-in-Place Easier

Doorway Widening

Your typical residential doorways aren't designed with wheelchairs or walkers in mind. As a result, they might be too narrow to fit through easily if you're using a mobility aid or wheelchair. By widening your doorways to 32 inches – the minimum size required by the ADA – you'll have enough clearance to move through doorways comfortably.

Bathroom Remodeling

Bathrooms can be hazardous for anyone getting older who has mobility issues or balance challenges. Since surfaces can be slick, the chance of slips and falls is significant.

Eighty percent of bathroom injuries are fall-related. Plus, bathroom falls are more than twice as likely to cause injuries than living room falls.

Ultimately, it's smart to pay special attention to bathroom updates. You may want to install grab bars in your shower or bath area, as well as near the toilet. Replacing an existing bathtub with a walk-in tub could be a wise move. If you'd rather just have a shower, you could go with a zero-entry shower, either with or without a seat.

Kitchen Updates

Most kitchens aren't designed with wheelchairs and other mobility devices in mind. Additionally, some kitchen areas might be harder to use if you have back or knee issues.

If you want to update your kitchen for accessibility, consider removing the cabinet under the sink. That way, a wheelchair or walker can fit underneath, making it easier to use.

Installing wall ovens could be a wise move as it prevents anyone from having to bend down to get items out of the oven. You may also want to install pull-down or pull-up inserts in cabinets, allowing you to bring items to a more workable height.

Stair Modifications

Navigating stairs can get more challenging as you age. If you want to make sure you can easily get into and move around in your home, ramps and chairlifts could be the answer. Ramps are ideal for handling exterior staircases, giving you a simple way to ascend. Chairlifts work for stairs inside your house, allowing you to ride to the top or bottom instead of walking.

If you want to continue climbing your stairs, you may want to update your railing. Choose something sturdy that can provide substantial support. That way, if you have to lean on it heavily on occasion, it's up to the job.

Finding a Great Contractor

When it's time to make the modifications, you'll need to hire a contractor. Begin by searching for contractors in your town, focusing on those with prior experience with accessibility modifications. Next, read reviews to learn more about their service and work quality.

Once you find some options, gather several quotes. That way, you can compare costs and estimated timelines. Additionally, make sure that each one is licensed, bonded, and insured, avoiding any contractor that doesn't meet those criteria.

Finally, make sure the payment schedule makes sense. A reputable contractor won't ask for all of the money upfront, so keep that in mind when hiring. 

LTC Insurance Can Often Provide Funds

If you own Long-Term Care Insurance and are claiming benefits, many policies provide money to pay for some of these home modifications. Another essential item that helps someone stay in their home safely includes things like medical alert systems that give you the additional peace of mind that a person can seek help immediately. Again, an LTC Insurance policy will often pay for this service.

Be sure to check the policy or contact the agent.

However, Long-Term Care Insurance is often purchased from an insurance agent or financial advisor who has had little experience and has never processed a claim. If you need help processing a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, no matter the insurance company, LTC NEWS can offer free no-obligation assistance with our partner Amada Senior Care. Get information from LTC NEWS - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.

Ideally, when you obtain Long-Term Care Insurance, seek help from a qualified specialist who works with the top companies. Be sure they also understand the claims process.   

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s to take advantage of lower premiums and better health, giving them the most coverage choices. Long-Term Care Insurance provides guaranteed tax-free benefits that pay for all types of services, including in-home care, adult day care, assisted living, memory care, hospice, and nursing homes.

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About the Author

Rhonda Underhill loves going for nature walks, kayaking, and tennis. Her love for exercise and fitness came later in life after her husband, Pete, suffered a heart attack at 54. Ever since, she and Pete have dedicated themselves to healthy living. Rhonda created www.getwellderly.com to share her passion for diet and exercise with other people her age. Today, Rhonda and Pete are both 60 and training for their first marathon

LTC News Contributor Ronda Underhill

Ronda Underhill

Contributor since February 9th, 2022

Editor's Note

About half of us will need long-term care services due to an illness, accident, or the consequences of aging. Our risk increases as we get older. The risk to our finances is tremendous as care costs are increasing rapidly due to increasing demand and higher labor costs.

Yes, long-term health care costs are expensive, and you will be financially responsible if you have savings. However, long-term care is more than just a cash flow issue - it is a family issue since often, adult children find themselves in the role of being a caregiver.

Family caregivers are stressed physically and emotionally. You can reduce the financial and family burdens that long-term care places on families and finances AND ensure your choice of quality care options by adding an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy to your retirement plan.

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s. Are you prepared?

Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS

You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan the costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Seek Professional Guidance

Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Get Expert Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy. 

You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News 

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

Share Your Knowledge - Be A Guest Contributor for LTC NEWS 

LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world. 

You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and cannot be just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

Shared Links

LTC NEWS offers a 'helpful links' page so readers looking for additional information can find them easily. You can get a dofollow link to your website on LTC NEWS in exchange for a dofollow link on your site.

Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

You can also affordably purchase a dofollow link to your website or blog on LTC NEWS. Just contact the advertising department.

Sharing News with LTC NEWS 

Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email - newsroom@ltcnews.com  

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