Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Home Safer

This Reuters article points out that making changes to your home can be far less expensive than the alternative of moving to assisted living.  The most important idea is that many things can be done to reduce the likelihood of suffering a fall in your home.   Falls are one of the leading causes of seniors losing their independence and being forced to move to assisted living or nursing homes.

The bottom line is that seniors who want to age in place in their own homes must be proactive.  For some, it might only require simple changes and for other times it may require more extensive home modifications that utilize universal design.  In either case, these changes will create a safer, more accessible environment.

Here is the article:

Aging in Place Preserves Seniors’ Independence, Reduces Care Costs

A new study from the University of Missouri shows the physical and financial benefits from Aging In Place.  In a four-year analysis of Aging In Place, the total care costs for residents were thousands less than traditional care options.  Costs for living and health care never approached the costs for nursing homes and assisted-living services.  In addition, Aging In Place residents had improved mental and physical health outcomes.

Remodeling Now to Avoid Accessibility Problems Later

The New York Times explains that baby boomers are remodeling their homes with an emphasis on safety and accessibility.  Using universal design for home modifications can create a beautiful environment that will work for the homeowner now and in the future.  As one person is quoted in the article, “Since I only wanted to do this once, I figured I’d make it accessible for when I’m older.”

Top 11 Home Modifications for Seniors

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that these items were most often included in home modifications and aging in place improvements for senior’s homes:

1. Levered doorknobs
2. Grab bars in bathrooms
3. Levered faucets in kitchen sink
4. Handrails on both sides of stairwells and on front and rear steps
5. Grab bars in showers
6. Removal of any door threshold
7. Movable shower heads for those who must sit
8. Portable shower seats
9. A bathroom with a bath/shower and a bedroom on the first floor
10. Widened doors to accommodate wheelchairs
11. Ramps for those using walkers and wheelchairs

Universal Design Can Change a Life

Here is a great story about a man who had lived in a nursing home for 13-years.   As a result of building a universal design home, this wheel chair user who survived spinal cancer was able to move into his own home.  As the article points out, universal design features are great for everyone, not just for the disabled.

Aging-in-Place Trend Likely to Stay Strong

According to a new AARP nationwide survey, most adults ages 45 and older plan to stay in their current homes and communities for as long as possible, suggesting that the market for aging-in-place residential remodeling is likely to remain strong.

The survey, whose results were released late in 2010, was conducted mid-year by the AARP.  It revealed that more than eight in 10 Boomers ages 45 and older – and effectively nine in ten people 65+ – report they want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible.

Aspects of one’s community continue to be the primary motivation for aging in place as one ages, reflected in the two-thirds of survey respondents who agreed that they want to stay in their home because they like what their community has to offer.

Planning ahead is critical for people who wish to age in place.  According to Elinor Ginzler, AARP senior v.p. for Livable Communities, “Far too often a person has to break a leg or contract a serious illness to discover that the home they love could restrict their comfortable lifestyle.  A few tweaks to key rooms and entrances when boomers and empty nesters are already remodeling can make a standard home more user-friendly for anyone at any age or ability.”

Home Modification Benefits for Disabled Vets

The VA offers little known programs that pay for modifying an existing home or building a new adapted home to meet the specific needs of veterans with service connected disabilities.  Through the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant and the Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant as well as the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant, eligible veterans may receive financial assistance totaling over $60,000.

At ILD, we are approved builders for the VA and welcome the opportunity to assist disabled vets so that they can live safely and comfortably as long as they choose in their own homes.

More information about these programs can be found here:

Everyone Should Use Universal Design

At ILD, we utilize a design philosophy called universal design.  The purpose of universal design is to create an environment that is accessible to as many people as possible in a esthetically pleasing, non-institutional manner. Universal design is highly functional and enhances real estate value.

Anyone who is building a new home or remodeling an existing home should consider using universal design principles.  It’s particularly valuable for those who know that they want to age in place in their homes.  The idea is that your home should always work for you know matter what challenges you may face in the future.

Here is a concise article that explains more.

10 Myths about Universal Design

Assisted Living, Nursing Home Prices Continue to Increase

Nursing home and assisted living rates rose significantly from 2009 to 2010, according to the Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs. Private room nursing home rates rose 4.6% to $229 per day or $83,585 per year, while assisted living rose 5.2% on average to $3,293 per month, or $39,516 per year. These increases come on top of increases from 2008 to 2009 when both nursing home and assisted living costs were up 3.3%.

The market survey, which includes state and major area details, can be downloaded via

US News Article on Home Modifications for Aging in Place

US News and World Reports discusses how to make your home aging in place friendly.   It lists several home modifications and other activities to make the home safer and more accessible.  The article points out that these modifications often pay for themselves quickly when compared to the costs of moving to assisted living.

Click here for the article.

Tax Deductions for Accessible Home Modifications

Here is an interesting article explaining how people may be able to deduct certain expenses associated with home modifications and special equipment that were purchased due to a medical condition or disability.   There are a variety of home modifications that qualify and the deduction is applicable to both home owners and renters.   This may be a promising avenue to help offset these costs but please consult with an accountant.

Click here for the article.

Independent Living Design Radio Interview

Adam was interviewed on Eugeria Radio and discussed aging-in-place, universal design and home modifications for seniors.  He also highlighted the problems associated with falls in the senior population and simple steps that people can take to eliminate trip hazards around the home.

Listen here

Claiming a Parent as a Dependent

Interesting post from the New York Times New Old Age Blog.  This should be of interest to adult children who are helping their parents age in place in their own homes or in the child’s home.

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Independent Living Design Offers Home Remodeling Designs and Services for Senior Citizens

Adam was the guest blogger for a 2-part series regarding “Remodeling for Seniors” on the Dallas Senior Scoop Blog.  Here’s part 1 in which he writes about the growing movement of aging-in-place and the corresponding need for home modifications and remodeling in the senior community:

In part 2, Adam wrote about the assessment process – how we determine our clients’ needs.  He also discussed the most common types of home modifications and how they tie into the concept of Universal Design.

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Independent Living Design Discusses the Importance of Home Modification for Senior Citizens

Adam was interviewed on the ‘Something for Seniors” show on North Texas Radio for the Blind.  He discussed aging-in-place, fall prevention, universal design, the importance of home modification to improve accessibility and safety, and specific tips for the visually impaired.

Listen Here

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