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Home > Finding Care > Helpful Resources > Checklists > Home Assessment for What Ails You

Home Assessment for What Ails You

Here are just some of the home remodeling and modifications that can be helpful for specific difficulties your aging parent or loved one might face.

If your parent has difficulty walking or managing stairs:

  • Make sure the driveway has a smooth, non-slippery surface.
  • Floors should also be smooth and non-slippery.
  • Stair surfaces should be slip-resistant.
  • Build a ramp with handrails to the front door, or a side entrance if it’s convenient.
  • Create knee space under stoves and sinks, so sitting is possible.
  • Throw out the throw rugs and area rugs to prevent tripping.
  • Widen doors to accommodate a walker and/or wheelchair.

If your loved one has impaired balance or coordination:

  • Install a phone in the bathroom.
  • Keep a bath seat in the tub or shower.
  • Install handrails on both sides of stairways.
  • Replace traditional shower with walk-in.
  • Equip the bathtub with a transfer bench.
  • Or install a bathtub with a side-door for easier entry.
  • Put grab bars near the bath and toilet.
  • Consider changing sharp-edged counters to rounded edged.

If your parent has limited reaching ability:

  • Build upper kitchen cabinets no more than 48 inches from the floor.
  • Keep cabinet shelves no more than 10 inches deep.
  • Equip kitchen with pull-down shelving.
  • Make sure stove has controls in the front.
  • Get a sink with side controls.
  • Equip shower with hand-held nozzle.
  • Organize closet so everything’s accessible.
  • Install pull-down closet rods.

If your parent has limited hand and arm strength:

  • Change cabinet handles for easy grip.
  • Change door handles to levers.
  • Make sure they have an automatic garage door.
  • Consider smooth countertops so they can easily slide heavy pots.
  • Get appliances with push-button controls.
  • Install lever faucet handles on sinks.
  • Install a long-reaching spray hose to fill pots on the stove.

If your loved one uses or will likely be using a wheelchair:

  • Create single-level living space for bathroom bedroom, kitchen, living room.
  • Build a ramp to the front door.
  • Make sure door threshold is 1/4 inch or less.
  • Keep walkway and driveway smooth but not slippery.
  • Widen doorways.
  • Make sure halls are wide enough.
  • Change walk-in closet to a wheel-in.
  • Made sure there’s plenty of space around toilet for transferring.
  • Change shower to wheel-in.
  • Buy a hand-held shower head.
  • Keep floors smooth and carpeting low-pile.
  • Install counters that accommodate wheelchair height.
  • Create knee space under sinks and stovetop.
  • Use a Lazy Susan for easier access in cabinets.
  • Make sure microwave oven is no more than 48 inches from the floor.
  • Get an oven with side-swinging doors.
  • Organize closet to make everything accessible.
  • Install pull-down rods.
  • Change electrical outlets to 27 inches above floor.
  • Create enough floor space for easier maneuvering throughout home.

If your loved one has limited or failing eyesight:

  • Make the edge of the counter a different color than the top.
  • Change the light bulbs to a higher wattage.
  • Put lights in all the closets.
  • Make sure walkways, entrances, and stairways are all well-lit.
  • Paint steps a different color.
  • Make the edge of the step a different color than the step’s surface.
  • Use felt tape or rubber bands to distinguish medicines or different foods.
  • Mark stove controls clearly.
  • Install under-cabinet lights over the kitchen counters.

If your parent has suffered hearing loss:

  • Increase volume on phones.
  • Buy phones and doorbells that flash light.
  • Buy special adapter for television.
  • Get smoke detectors with strobe lights.