pixabay roofing-3755606_1280
Picture of TroveStreet® Wisdom

TroveStreet® Wisdom

TroveStreet® Wisdom: Making modifications/repairs to my home

There is no place like home.  And given the choice, most of us want to remain living in our current home for the rest of our lives.  Yet many houses weren’t built with livability features to maximize safety and comfort as we age.

Our ability to stay where we live – now and in the future – depends on our physical health, cognitive function, social network, and ability to navigate and maintain our living space.  

Being safe and avoiding injury are essential to remaining independent.  Don’t wait until a time of crisis to make necessary modifications and repairs to your home. Start the process now to stay as safe and comfortable as possible in your home over time.  

Follow these three-home modification and repair tips:

  1. Choose the right contractors, designers, and architects

Professionals with an Aging in Place designation have been trained to adapt or create homes that are barrier-free, ergonomic, efficient, and safe for people as they age. Those with a Universal Design designation apply Aging in Place concepts to create products and environments that are attractive and usable by everyone, no matter their ability or age. 

To make sure contractors, designers, and architects are a good fit for your needs, ask them to provide:

  • Experience and approach to modifications for aging
  • List of references
  • Typical work hours and clean up processes
  • Expectations of you (e.g., what you need to do before they start)
  1. Compare and contrast your options.

An abundance of home modification and repair products and solutions claim to be the “best” solution for people as they age. Don’t be swayed. Make a list of the good and not-so-good features of each product and consider how they may affect you.

For example, one woman was talked into a walk-in tub with a door. She didn’t think about how chilly she would get as she sat in the tub wet, waiting for the water to drain before she could open the door and step out. This also created a problem when a smoke alarm went off and she was not able to step over the tub and quickly evacuate her home. (Fortunately, it was a false alarm and was not harmed.)

  1. Put a plan in place.

It may take a while to find a contractor, designer, or architect that is the right fit for you. And when you do, their next availability may be months out. 

If possible, obtain a few different quotes to ensure you have options and can budget your finances accordingly. If you need to make modifications in stages, prioritize the modifications and repairs that are needed most to ensure your home is safe, comfortable, and accessible as you age. 

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure amenities (bedroom, full bathroom, and laundry) are located on the first floor.
  • Have at least one “no step” entry into the home.
  • Widen doorways to 36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair, if needed.
  • Change light switches and door handles to age-friendly options.
  • Install safety bars in the bath and kitchen (a variety of styles and finishes are available, but place and install bars correctly)
  • Arrange furniture in a way that allows for clear walking paths, free from trip hazards.
  • Fix leaking roofs or replace older roofs.
  • Ensure flooring and carpeting are glued down.
  • Repaint cracking surfaces.
  • Sand chipped wood spots or nail down porch/deck planks.
  • Fix broken handles and winterize windows.
  • Replace damaged light fixtures.

To find a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist in your area call the National Association of Home Builders at 800-368-5242 or visit its directory page “Find a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist” at nahb.org.

If finances are a concern, there are local resources that may be able to help:

York County Planning Commission offers funding and grants to assist with home improvements, weatherization, heating, and rehabilitation. Contact 717.771.9870 for details.

Servants, Inc. provides critical home repair services to under-resourced older adults and disabled homeowners. Contact 717.378.0336 for details.

Home Repair/Modification Workcamps:  sometimes local churches host youth groups to work on homes doing light repairs like painting and yard work.  Contact the churches near you to see if they offer this service or if they know of a local church that does.

Share this post

Ready to Get Started?

Schedule a Call

The first call with us is FREE. Let us help you navigate with a 30 minute consult today.

View and Sign Up for upcoming seminars

Check our upcoming seminars calendar

Scroll to Top