Simple home updates help seniors aging in place
Making your older adult’s home easier and safer to live in is essential for successful aging in place.
Today, many home accessibility updates aren’t expensive or complicated. A few thoughtful changes can go a long way toward making a home senior-friendly.
We share 3 simple, low-cost updates for doors that can help seniors stay independent longer. These changes allow them to use walkers or wheelchairs more easily and reduce fall risk, making life safer and more convenient.
3 simple and inexpensive door updates for aging in place
1. Replace regular door hinges with offset door hinges
Standard room doorways can be a tight squeeze for seniors using a wheelchair or walker.
Rather than a big remodeling project to widen the doorway, consider replacing the existing door hinges with these offset door hinges (also known as expandable or swing clear door hinges). These hinges allow the door to swing all the way out of the frame and can add an additional 2 inches of width to the doorway.
Offset hinges cost about $25 per pair, which is far less expensive than expanding the doorway. If nobody in the family is handy, you might need to hire someone to help with installation, but replacing the hinges should be a quick, simple, and inexpensive job.
This short video shows exactly how an offset door hinge works differently from a standard hinge. Jump to the 38 second mark to see how a standard hinge opens and then to 1 minute 10 seconds to see how the offset hinge opens.
2. Change the direction of the bathroom door opening
Many bathrooms are small spaces that can be tough for older adults to get into and out of, especially if they’re using a walker or wheelchair.
A helpful, low-cost update is to change the direction of the door opening. Re-hang the door so that it swings outward instead of opening into the bathroom. This gives more room inside the bathroom and makes it easier to enter and exit.
3. Make door thresholds safer
When door thresholds could easily trip your older adult and cause a fall, going into and out of the house can be dangerous. A threshold also makes using a wheelchair or walker more difficult because of the flooring height difference.
Instead of sanding down or otherwise remodeling those doorways, consider getting a portable threshold ramp. They’re relatively inexpensive and if needed, can also be secured with heavy duty double-stick tape or a couple of screws.
When your older adult visits family or friends, you could also take one of these ramps along to make it easier to enter and exit their homes.
These threshold ramps range in price depending on their height. For example, this one is 3/4 inches in height and costs about $50 (including shipping). A portable ramp that’s 1 inch in height costs about $70.
Recommended for you:
- 7 Sources of Home Repair Assistance for Seniors
- 6 Affordable Ways to Create a Senior-Friendly Kitchen
- Home Modifications for Seniors: A Room-by-Room Guide
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