AARP HomeFit

Home Fitness for Specific Needs

Simple home modifications can make a home more user-friendly and livable for everyone. Here are just a few examples

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Simple home modifications can make a home more user-friendly and livable for people who have difficulties with vision, strength or getting around.  


  • Install new lights (such as motion-sensor flood lights) or increase lighting on exterior pathways, porches and doorways

  • Increase lighting on all stairs, either by plugging night-lights into wall outlets or installing overhead fixtures or wall sconces

  • Install light switches that glow in the dark

  • In the kitchen, place lighting over the sink, stove and other work areas and be sure your stove's controls are easy for you to see

  • Keep a magnifying glass in the places you may need one (kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom) for reading small print

  • Place automatic, light-sensor night-lights in hallways and rooms
  • Add lighting to closets

  • Install a thermostat that’s easy to read

  • Use full-spectrum bulbs that simulate daylight

  • Use halogen bulbs to reduce glare

  • Open window shades, blinds and curtains for natural light during the day


  • Replace round doorknobs with easier-to-use lever-style door handles

  • Place a chair or table near the entrance door for placing packages while you lock or unlock the door

  • Replace traditional toggle-style light switches with larger, easier-to-use rocker-style light switches

  • Repair or replace any hard-to-open windows


  • Use adjustable and low rods and shelves in closets and cabinets. Consider pull-out or pull-down shelves, or drawers designed to close automatically

  • Have the dishwasher elevated to reduce the amount of bending you must do
  • Choose a side-by-side or drawer-style refrigerator

  • Sit rather than stand while working at the kitchen countertop. (If necessary, have cabinet shelves or drawers removed to allow room for your knees.)

  • Place rolling casters on chairs

  • Buy touch control lamps or "clapper" devices for lights and electronics

  • Install a walk-in or no-threshold shower, a bath seat or bench and an adjustable, hand-held showerhead

  • Use a front-loading washer, and place the washer, dryer, shelves and work surfaces at reachable heights

  • Keep a cell phone on you, or install a telephone in multiple rooms (including the bathroom) so you're never too far from being able to call for help

Published February 2015


* Available in English and Spanish

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