Home renovations are major and minor cosmetic changes made to a home, usually done to give a home a fresh new look. Certain renovations can also increase property value, meaning that the homeowner can sell the home at a higher price on a later date. Some of the best renovations include kitchen and bathroom updates, as well as finishing an extra room like a basement or garage.
Universal home renovations are home renovations that make a home more accessible for everyone, no matter their age or mobility level. These home renovations almost always increase property value, so consider one or more of these the next time you have a home inspection or appraisal.
Senior citizens are at risk of falling more than other age groups, and the majority of senior falls occur in the bathroom. This is no surprise as there are many slippery surfaces in the bathroom. Incorporating these universal bathroom renovations will increase property value and make your home more elder-friendly.
At the very least, bathtubs and showers should have grab bars and anti-slip strips placed in them. This makes it easier and safer to enter and exit the shower. An even better renovation would be to replace the bath with a walk-in tub or walk-in shower. This eliminates the need to step over the bathtub.
Most bathroom floors are tile, which is one of the hardest types of flooring. This can be especially dangerous for senior citizens and those with mobility issues because a fall becomes much more dangerous. Vinyl flooring is a much safer option; it’s not as hard as tile, but it’s also waterproof and great for bathrooms.
Standard toilets stand no higher than 17 inches— usually 15— but a universal design raises toilets to stand somewhere around 16 to 18 inches. This makes it easier to transition in and out of a wheelchair, and it’s also easier to stand up from this height.
Kitchens are one of the most popular rooms in a home, which is why renovating this room can easily increase property value. Here are some universal kitchen designs to keep in mind.
Drawer appliances make it easier for those in wheelchairs to access appliances that are normally up higher, such as microwaves. Dishwashers, freezers, and refrigerators can also be purchased as drawer appliances approved by the ADA.
Raised-based cabinets allow for control of the height of the cabinets. A higher setting eliminates the needs for constant bending to access items inside of the cabinets.
For those in wheelchairs, some countertops will need to be lowered for easier access. Pull-out work surfaces are also a great way to make countertops more accessible.
Doorways and Doorknobs
Doorways can be widened to better accommodate wheelchairs. Actual doors should have twist-knobs switched out with lever handles, making it easier for those who may suffer from arthritis to be able to open doors.
Elevators and Stair Lifts
Multi-story homes can make it harder for senior citizens to age in place, and they’re also not wheelchair-friendly. This is where residential elevators and stair lifts can be great additions to your home. However, stair lifts are usually only installed for senior citizens, but home elevators are more universal.
Although carpet is the softest flooring, it’s not ideal for senior citizens or those in wheelchairs. Carpet is hard to thoroughly clean, and high-pile carpet easily snags on wheels. On the other hand, you don’t want flooring that’s too hard, like tile and real hardwood— even though real hardwood increases property value. Ideal flooring types include vinyl, laminate, and low-pile carpet.
Universal home upgrades are ideal for senior citizens wishing to age in place, or remain in their own homes as opposed to assisted living. In fact, this living arrangement is ideal for both senior citizens and their families because of the poor quality of nursing homes in the U.S. Thousands of seniors have been injured in nursing homes from bed sores, falls, and medication errors— all of which can even result in death.
Even if you don’t plan on selling your home, investing in universal home renovations prepares your home for you to safely age in place. So it’s a good investment if you’re undecided about what you want to do with your home. No matter what you decide to do, these renovations make your home safer, more convenient, and more comfortable for anyone living in it.