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Home Remodeling For The Elderly

Is remodeling your home for retirement really necessary?
How do I make my home safer for retirement?
Are there any inexpensive ways to "age-proof" my house?

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: 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:
  • Install grab bars and transfer benches. Vitality Medical carries tub bars and clamp-on tub rails. We also carry solid and sturdy transfer benches from trusted companies like Invacare and Rubbermaid.
  • Install non-skid strips in shower. By installing these strips, you can avoid falls which can result in severe injury, like hip fractures. Vitality Medical carries a Duro Med No-Skid Cushioned Bath Mat, which provides an excellent fall resistant surface.
  • Install handrails. Vitality Medical carries a large selection of bed rails and assist rails, which can make getting out of bed a lot easier for the elderly.

The Cornell Chronicle - The Cornell Chronicle

Helpful Articles

National Osteoporosis Foundation - Osteoporosis
University of Washington - Bone Density
Osteopenia - Dexa Scanning
Mayo Clinic - Bone Density Test: Measure Your Risk of Osteoporosis
University of Washington School of Medicine - Differential Diagnosis In Musculoskeletal Imaging
Mayo Clinic - Hip Fracture

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