“Home is Where the Heart is,” so sang Elvis Presley without even realizing that as people age, many want to remain living in their own homes as long as possible.  

Not only is this often more affordable than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility, but it also provides seniors with a sense of independence and comfort, familiar surroundings, and access to the services they need. 

However, living at home as an older adult can present unique challenges, such as mobility limitations, vision or hearing impairment, and increased risk of falls. 

But with a few modifications, seniors can continue to live safely at home and enjoy their golden years.  

Avoiding the Trauma of Moving to a Nursing Home 

Maintenance-free,  elegant guardrails to grace the entrance to a suburban home. (Courtesy Photo, Rosalind Strickland)

Seniors who stay at home have more control over their lives and schedules than those who move into nursing homes or other facilities. ‘

For many seniors, moving to a nursing home can be traumatic. It often involves leaving behind a lifetime of memories and downsizing to a smaller living space. 

Furthermore, nursing homes can be expensive; depending on where you live and how much help you need with daily tasks like bathing or dressing yourself properly. Moving into such a facility could cost thousands of dollars each month just for rent alone. And if your loved one needs round-the-clock care because of chronic medical conditions, the additional costs start adding up quickly. 

Many seniors prefer to hold onto their assets and remain in their own homes. However, for seniors who live alone or have limited mobility, living at home can be risky. 

Here are some modifications that can be made to a home to make it safer and more accessible:

Building Self-Confidence by Maintaining Independence 

One of the biggest challenges for seniors is maintaining their independence while also staying safe. Many older adults fear losing their independence and relying on others for help with daily activities. By making modifications to their homes, seniors can maintain their independence and continue to perform daily tasks without assistance. This can help build self-confidence and improve overall quality of life. 

Moving the Bedroom to the First Floor 

The bedroom is where seniors spend most of their time, so it is essential to make it safe and comfortable. For seniors with limited mobility, climbing stairs can be a major challenge. Therefore, moving the bedroom to the first floor is essential. This eliminates the need to climb stairs to access the bedroom, reducing the risk of falls and making it easier for seniors to navigate their homes. Also, install safe seating in the bedroom. Seniors should have a comfortable chair in their bedroom where they can sit and relax. The chair should have a firm seat and backrest to provide support when getting up or sitting down. 

Modifying a Bathroom 

The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house, especially for seniors. Here is a tip for modifying a bathroom. Install a roll-in shower that has no threshold, making it easier for seniors to enter and exit and a safe and comfortable space for seniors to bathe. This modification can also make it easier for caregivers to assist seniors with bathing. Also, install grab bars on both sides of the shower to prevent accidents from happening. 

Installing Safe Seating in the Shower 

Installing safe seating in the shower can provide additional support and stability for seniors while bathing. A sturdy, non-slip shower chair or bench can be a simple yet effective modification that can greatly improve safety in the bathroom. It can also make it easier for seniors to bathe independently. 

Handrails Throughout the Home 

Handrails can be installed throughout the home to provide additional support and stability. This can be especially helpful in areas with stairs or uneven flooring. Handrails can also be installed in bathrooms and near toilets to provide additional support when getting up and down. 

Low step back door entry with oil rub safety bars on door and wall to provide support. (Courtesy Photo, Rosalind Strickland)

No Step, Low or Flat Thresholds 

No step, low or flat thresholds can also be an important modification to consider. This eliminates the need to step over high thresholds or navigate uneven flooring, reducing the risk of trips and falls. This modification can also make it easier for seniors to move freely around their homes. 

Improved Lighting 

Improved lighting can greatly improve safety in the home, especially for seniors with vision impairments. This can include installing brighter light bulbs, adding additional lighting fixtures, and installing motion-sensor lights in key areas. Improved lighting can also help reduce the risk of falls by making it easier to navigate the home safely. 

A Few Simple Modifications Do the Trick

Living safely at home as a senior can be a reality with a few simple modifications. Avoiding the trauma of moving to a nursing home is achieved by making the home safer and more accessible. 

By taking the six steps, seniors can maintain their independence and continue living in their own homes. This can lead to a better quality of life, as seniors are able to stay connected with their communities and maintain their social lives. 

It’s important to note that these modifications may require some investment and planning, but there are many resources available to help. Local governments, nonprofits, and healthcare providers may offer assistance or advice on how to make homes safer for seniors. 

In addition to modifications, it is also important for seniors to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This can include regular exercise, a balanced diet, and staying socially engaged with friends and family. These habits can help prevent falls and other health issues that can impact quality of life. 

Rosalind Strickland is the owner of Rosalind Strickland Interior Design LLC and is a certified Senior Home Safety specialist. For more information, call: (216) 581-7233. 

Certified Senior Home Safety specialist

Join the Conversation


  1. Gail,this article contains excellent advice and is a keeper and not because you are my niece.

  2. Love this Gail! I am so proud of you! This article is definitely useful! Will keep it!

  3. Thank you for sharing your professional knowledge and experience. These life improving recommendations will provide a blueprint for the path I will take as I approach my very senior years and my desire to remain in my home. Thank you again for your generosity.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *