Small Renovations That Can Have a Big Effect on Accessibility

Aging in place is a concept that is becoming a big deal. Staying in a home of your choice as you age rather than moving to senior housing, as well as creating spaces that are equally accessible to everyone are helping people enjoy their quality of life. You might have decided to stay in your current home as long as possible, you might have disabled children or friends, or you just might want a home thats more convenient for you and your family, especially if you have active, injury-prone kids (I know I seemed to constantly have a sprained ankle over some childhood mishap or another). Overhauling a home to be fully handicapped accessible can be expensive, but there are some small, affordable changes you can make so that you, your friends, and family can get the most out of your home.

Improved Handles and Faucets

Standard knobs can be hard to turn, especially for small or arthritic hands. Lever handles on doors and faucets make everything more usable, both for the elderly and the young. Lever handles also allow you to open doors with your elbow if your hands are full. Similarly, pulls are better than knobs on cabinets and drawers. For faucets and showerheads, consider installing anti-scald or thermostatic controls, to keep the water from getting too hot.

Bathroom Upgrades

Install grab bars alongside the toilet and in a position to assist with getting in and out of the shower or bath, to help with mobility issues and preventing falls. A non-slip bath mat both inside the tub or shower and just outside of it will also help keep someone from slipping. Anyone can slip and fall in the bathroom, and these simple fixes can prevent very painful and costly accidents.


Keep walkways well lit with bright lights. Fluorescent and LED bulbs provide more light than older incandescent bulbs, making it easier to see while you navigate. They last longer, too, so you dont need to replace them as often. Rocker style switches are easier to use than standard toggle-able switches, especially if you have stiff fingers from arthritis. Like lever handles, they can even be used when you have full hands. Motion-sensitive light controls are great for lighting up hallways and rooms as soon as someone enters them, reducing the risk of falling in the dark. Nowadays, you can find affordable plug-in motion sensors for your floor and table lamps. Also, keep walkways free of clutter that someone could trip over, especially long cords.


Install non-slip flooring, especially in the foyer, mudroom, bathroom, and kitchen anywhere prone to getting wet. Thin carpet can work, though it has its drawbacks. Theres also modern types of vinyl and laminate that are specially made to be non-slip and softer to fall on, alongside more unusual flooring styles, like cork or rubber. Flooring options like tile and natural stone are hard and slippery, so they arent usually the best choice if someone in the family is a fall risk. If using tiles, small tiles […]

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