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The AARP Home Fit Guide

Learn how you can adapt your home to meet the changing needs of you and your family

Livable Communities

An age-friendly home "fits" people of all ages and physical abilities. — Getty Images

AARP surveys consistently find that the vast majority of people 50 and older want to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible.

If you're one of them, the AARP Home Fit Guide can help you do just that with comprehensive advice, tips and checklists for getting your home in top form for comfort, safety and long-term livability.

The suggestions included here range from simple tasks to more complicated projects that may require professional help.

Fixing up your home? AARP member discounts can help

If you are at all unsure of the level of skill needed, or are uncomfortable about the amount of physical effort a project could take, then it is best to call in a professional, such as certified aging-in-place specialists (CAPS) and occupational therapists are included along with AARP’s seven steps to hiring a contractor.

Ask Yourself, "Do I Have an Age-Friendly Home?"

Most people don’t discuss or think about the age-appropriateness of their home until a crisis makes it obvious that they're living in a place that no longer meets their needs and abilities.

So take a look around, and think about whether you and your home are a "good fit"? If so, will your home continue to match your needs and abilities as you age?

Consider your community as well. Is it "livable"? Does where you live have affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services, and transportation options so you can get where you need to go if you can’t or don’t wish to drive?

We often forget our homes are aging along with us, and in many cases our homes aren’t aging as well as we are! Livable homes and communities empower their residents to remain independent and engaged.

The following questions can help determine if your home meets your current and future livability requirements. Your answers can identify if you need to make changes or perhaps search for a more suitable home.

  1. Is there at least one step-free entrance into the home?

  2. Does your home have a bedroom, full bath and kitchen on one level?

  3. Are the doorways and hallways wide enough for a wheelchair to pass?

  4. Do the doorknobs and faucets have lever handles, which are easier to use than rounded knobs?

  5. Are the kitchen counters mounted at varying heights, so they can be used while standing or seated?

  6. Can the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and shelves be easily reached?

  7. Does the bathtub or shower have a non-slip surface?

  8. Are there grab bars in the bathroom, or has the wall been reinforced so grab bars can be added?

  9. Are the hallways and staircases well lit?

  10. Are there secure handrails on both sides of stairways?

  11. Can light switches, electrical outlets and thermostats be easily reached, even when seated?

  12. Can the windows be opened with minimum effort?

Next Steps

Page last reviewed or updated April 2014

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