Photo credit: Pixaby

Written by: Kent Elliot

As we grow older, we find ourselves having to adjust to a variety of changes in our life. One of the hardest changes for seniors is losing their independence, but this doesn’t have to happen to you. The benefits of aging in place are becoming more apparent, and more seniors are looking for ways to stay in their own homes as they grow older. If you’re interested in aging in place, here are some ways you can make sure you stay happy and safe in your home:

Focus on Safety Upgrades
If you want to stay in your home as you grow older, you need to concentrate on upgrades that provide safety. Look around your house and take note of any areas that may give you problems as you age. Low lighting is often an issue for older adults, so changing out your fixtures and light bulbs can make your home safer if low vision effects you. You should also pay special attention to preventing falls. According to the CDC, falls related injuries are a leading cause of death for seniors and can be costly.  Many of these falls occur when seniors are alone, so focus your efforts on reducing fall hazards around your home. Pay extra attention to your bathrooms. With slippery tile and wet surfaces, bathrooms can be fairly dangerous for seniors. But following senior bathroom safety guidelines ( can help you avoid injuries.

Make Your Home Secure
In addition to safety, home security is a major issue for seniors looking to stay in their own homes. It’s unfortunate, but true, that many criminals target seniors who are living alone. This may make your home more susceptible to break-ins. To protect your home, yourself and your belongings, make sure you have good locks installed on all of your windows and doors. A home security system may be a good option for giving you even greater peace of mind.

Security systems can also protect you in case of a fire or other household emergency.  If you choose to install a security system, look for options that offer home monitoring for seniors as well. You can learn more here about whether home monitoring may be a good fit for you.

Fund Your Renovations 
Accessibility upgrades can make your life easier, but they can also be expensive. Typical accessibility renovation costs can range from $140 for grab bars to $40,000 for a major kitchen overhaul. A home improvement loan could be the best option. If you aren’t ready to commit to a loan and have plenty of life insurance, you may be able to sell a policy to collect cash for home improvements. For seniors who need help funding upgrades, there are options to help as well. Look for organizations  that can help or research grant opportunities available to you.

Know When It’s Best to Move
For many seniors, moving to a new home just makes more sense. Whether your current home is too big to maintain or upgrades are hard to make, consider starting a search for a home that is a better fit for you. Starting your search online is easy, with the help of filters that allow you to look for accessible homes in your area. Use a checklist to make sure you find homes that meet your wants and needs. As you research accessible homes, be sure to look into home values as well. According to RedFin, homes in Cleveland, Ohio, typically sell for under $100,000 but those prices can change depending on neighborhoods and current trends in the real estate market.

Maintaining independence can be important for adults as they age. By adding accessibility features to your home, you can safely live alone and stay more in control of your life. Aging in place has never been easier, so make sure you are prepared to make it happen for you.
Kent Elliot is a retired architect with a passion for dogs, DIY, and universal design. After a stroke left him with mobility issues, he thought he would need to move out of his home and into an assisted living community. But, using his experience as an architect and with a little creativity, he was able to successfully remodel his family home instead. The relief he felt has inspired him to help others do the same. He created to share what he’s learned and is currently working on a book, Aging in Place One Project at a Time: DIY Home research grant opportunities available to you.