If you’re planning to do remodeling for an aging relative or friend, their budget for changes may be too limited to take on huge projects. But there are important changes you can add to your home or theirs to improve safety and make life easier.
1 | Slip-proof flooring and
Redoing an entire floor may be costly and difficult, but falls on slippery flooring are one of the biggest worries for older Americans. Quick changes can be made in the bathroom or kitchen with non-slip rugs that cost only $10 to $15. You can also install bath mats with rubber suction cups or try cans of non-slip spray in bath and shower that cost around $12-$15. You can also mop on one of the Slip Doctors products that will provide extra traction to any surface.
2 | Ramps for doorways
Even taking a very small step up to enter the doorway of a home can be an obstacle for someone with a wheelchair or a walker. Building a permanent ramp could cost a lot, but a portable ramp for one or two steps on the threshold can be purchased for about $100-$300 online. You want a ramp with a high traction surface and one that can handle hundreds of pounds. Some can be purchased with handrails.
3 | Colored tape on steps
If there are stairs in the house, put colored tape at the edge of each step, so that residents going up or down will know exactly where they are and where to put their feet. Smaller rolls of non-slip grip tape will cost about $10-$20 per roll, whereas larger rolls (20 yards) can be bought for about $50 online and in hardware stores.
4 | Better lighting
Switch incandescent can lights to LEDs to provide more light throughout the house. You can also replace the old can light housing with an all in one LED fixture from a hardware store that has a cleaner look for $20-$30 (uninstalled) per LED can. You can also install LED lights with motion sensors at very low cost to light up the room when someone walks in. You can easily install LED lighting under cabinets to make it easier to view countertops, too. Side lighting is better than overhead lights that can cause shadows. Rocker-style light switches are also easier to use.
5 | Widening doors
In many homes, some doorways can be 28, 30 or 32 inches wide, not enough clearance for someone with a wheelchair or walker. It can be pricey to have someone take off the old frame and rebuild it, but if you install offset hinges or remove part of the molding from the frame, you might be able to get the 34-inch clearance that’s needed without major reconstruction. Offset hinges cost about $20-$30 per hinge, online and in hardware stores. If you were to widen and replace a door it could easily be $2,500 per door with a new door, framing, new trim, hardware, drywall repair, and painting.
6 | Time to declutter
Decluttering is a great way to make cleaning of your home an easier job. Go through old clothing, toys, games, and knickknacks to see what you can give away to charity and also get a tax deduction. JN
R.C. 'Romey' Romero is co-owner of Arizona's home improvement radio program 'Rosie on the