AARP Eye Center
Nancy Loud has lived in her Arlington, Massachusetts, home for almost six decades and has no plans to move, but a fall while getting out of the shower made the 86-year-old realize that, for her own safety, she needed to make some updates.
“It was a big shift in how I looked at my home,” she admits.
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Instead of installing a walk-in shower, adding a full bath on the main floor or investing in other major renovations, Loud focused on quick and simple updates: She hired a handyman to install grab bars in the shower, purchased a shower chair and a raised toilet seat, and requested estimates for a stair lift chair to access the second floor. Loud feels like these easy fixes have helped her retain her independence.
Making home modifications is a common theme for the 77 percent of adults over 50 who want to remain in their homes over the long term, according to the latest AARP survey.
Whether you’ve started feeling unsteady or a loved one has suffered an injury that requires additional accommodations, these six quick, easy fixes can make your home safer and more accessible — no major renovations required.
1. Add grab bars
Falls are the leading cause of injuries among adults over 65, and soapy, wet, slippery surfaces in the bathroom increase the risk. Installing grab bars in the shower can help, according to Kurt Clason, president of Clason Remodeling Company and a certified aging-in-place specialist through the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers.
In addition to installing grab bars in the shower, consider adding them around the toilet, too.
“If you have balance issues, grab bars can help you pull yourself up or, for the guys, steady yourself while you’re standing,” Clason adds.
Clason also suggests purchasing a shower chair, a raised toilet seat and a handheld shower wand to improve bathroom safety. Loud ordered these items online and had them shipped straight to her door.