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Home Remodeling for Senior Safety

Is remodeling your home for retirement really necessary?

As millions of baby boomers grow older they will want to have full access to their house. The Chicago Tribune adds that "...a mini-industry of sorts has emerged to help make seniors as enthusiastic about home remodeling..." This pre-emptive approach is a change from previous thinking and that it saves money. The Cornell Chronicle quotes a professor of policy who says "A more efficient approach [rather than waiting for sudden need] is to incorporate such modifications through the course of home remodeling projects."

Bottom line: When it comes to home improvement, it's never too early to start planning.

How do I make my home safer for retirement?

There's no definitive list for things to "age-proof" your house. Here are a few suggestions from some homebuilder's websites:
Bankrate.com suggested some of the following(full text available at their website):
  • Doorways: Doorways should be about 34-36 wide to accomodate wheelchairs. Can cost $300-600 per door.
  • Door Knobs: Level doorknobs are much easier to turn as manual dexterity decreases.
  • Refrigerators: Should be kept away from the corners so the door can swing as wide open as possible.
The article also suggests other ways such as sinks that allow for a wheelchair to slide under and lowering countertops. While these suggestions are good, they may prove to be too expensive for the average user.

Are there any inexpensive ways to "age-proof" my house?

Some inexpensive ideas to help make your home safer for your retirement years include the following:

The Cornell Chronicle - The Cornell Chronicle

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