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Making Home Safer: 5 Fixes Under $1,000


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home-fixes-senior-safety.jpgWith more seniors than ever staying home during the coronavirus pandemic, it can pay to invest in home updates to ensure a loved one’s house is safe from potential safety hazards.  

While the thought of remodeling might seem daunting and expensive, many fixes are affordable and can be done by just about anyone. Dan Bawden, founder of the national Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) program for the National Association of Home Builders, discusses five fixes that potentially could cost $1,000 or less. (Costs may vary by region.)

  1. New Door Knobs - Arthritis can make turning traditional round door knob handles more difficult. An inexpensive solution is changing out door knobs to lever handles. Such handles can easily be opened even with an elbow, Bawden noted. “You may be able to change out door knobs for around $1,000.”
  2. Lighting - Inadequate lighting is a safety hazard and high fixtures often pose a problem for seniors with shoulder problems who have difficulty changing out burned bulbs. Upgrading to LED bulbs not only provides good lighting, but such bulbs typically have a longer service life. It may cost $300 to $400 to convert to LED bulbs, Bawden said.
  3. Shower Updates - Showering could be easier by converting a showerhead to a hand-held shower with a trickle or pause showerhead. Estimated cost is around $250 including the plumber. Or do it yourself for about $50.
  4. Automatic Doors - Many varieties of residential automated door openers and closers are on the market making access in and out of a home easier for seniors with mobility problems. Cost generally runs $1,000 or less, Bawden noted. Search to find a variety in your price range.
  5. Decorative Grab Bars - Minimize the risk of falls in the bathroom by installing grab bars. A variety of decorative grab bars now exist on the market. “They should be placed two in the shower (one on the back wall of the shower and one where you step in) and one near the toilet,” Bawden said. Cost may be around $400, depending on your location. “Some of my female clients who have a strong design sense but hate that ‘grab bar look’ like these products. For instance, one variety is shaped like an upside-down U that also holds the toilet paper roll.”

Learn more about other ways to safeguard a home by completing the Making Home Safer for Seniors checklist.

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