Our needs and abilities can change as we age, making our homes less accessible. If you are getting older or have a disability, you may want to make some modifications to your home.

CMHC and the March of Dimes have identified over 50 low- or no-cost modifications to make your home more accessible. These simple modifications can improve safety and accessibility for everyone, including seniors and people with disabilities.

Suggestions for improving the accessibility of doorways, entrances, stairs and staircases include:

  • installing motion-detecting lights at the entrance to your home
  • installing doorknob grippers or levered handles on doors
  • using swing-away hinges on doors to gain an extra few inches of clearance for a wheelchair or walker
  • adding a small bench or chair at the main entrance and on stairway landings where people can rest or catch their breath
  • installing a gate at the top of stairs

Suggestions for modifications to the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room include:

  • installing easy-grip D-handles on cabinets and drawers
  • purchasing a pot stabilizer to keep pots from spinning while being stirred
  • labelling taps “hot” and “cold”
  • adding a safety mat and grab bars in the bath tub
  • adding a bath seat in the shower
  • purchasing a water alarm to alert you if the tub or sink is overflowing
  • using detergent dispensers that don’t have to be lifted off the shelf
  • choosing light switches in a contrasting colour to make them easier to see
  • adding extra lighting throughout your home

Suggestions for making furniture and home layouts safer, more comfortable and more accessible include:

  • arranging your furniture to create a clear path of travel throughout your home
  • painting floors or doorways between rooms in different colours
  • securing or removing any area rugs that someone could trip over
  • placing corner guards on sharp edges of tables, chairs and other furniture

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Date Published: May 25, 2017