Aging in Place Remodeling Cost

The average cost of aging in place remodeling ranges between $700 and $9,000.

In this guide

Not one size fits all
Universal design
Common projects
Remodeling by room
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQs

How much does it cost to remodel to adapt a home for aging in place?

As many people get older, they begin to have difficulty continuing to live in their homes the same way they always have. Maybe they begin to have difficulty navigating the stairs, or maybe just the average bending, stretching, and grasping that so many people take for granted becomes more difficult with time. To combat these issues, many homeowners take steps to remodel their homes so that they can age in place, or continue to live in their home as they age, without needing to move to assisted living or a nursing home. A typical nursing home may cost more than $50,000 a year, while the most common remodeling jobs cost less than $10,000, a signficant saving.

The key focus of aging in place is accessibility and function, as well as remaining safe within your home. This may include making faucet handles easier to turn for those with arthritis, and raising countertops and sinks to eliminate bending for those with stiff backs, as well as the installation of non-slip flooring in wet areas, such as the bathroom. It’s better to make these changes as soon as possible to allow you to comfortably continue living in your home, rather than to wait until you have difficulty accessing all parts of your home to begin. There are different aspects to a remodel designed to allow you to age in place. Some can be achieved in as little time as a weekend, while others may require more extensive remodeling that could take up to 6 weeks time. This largely depends on the state of your current home and what adaptations may be necessary for you to continue to live there.

The most common aging in place remodel that most people undertake on their homes is in the bathroom, and includes installing a curb-free shower, grab bars, universal height toilet and sink, non-slip flooring, and faucets with lever handles for easier turning. The average cost of this project is around $9,000, but can be higher depending on whether more space is necessary in the room to accommodate aids such as walkers or wheelchairs.

Not one size fits all

There are many ways that you can age in place, and different remodels that you may want to undertake to assist you. If you have difficulty with mobility, for example, then your adaptations may reflect that with widening of doorways to accommodate a future wheelchair, as well as ramps to eliminate the need to step up. Someone with arthritis may change all the doorknobs and faucet handles to levers to eliminate grasping. While it may be impossible to predict exactly what types of adaptations you may need in the future, there are many tenets of universal design that may help you determine what changes you may need to make

Universal design

Many facets of aging in place also follow the guidelines for universal design. Universal design is the concept that a room could be used or accessed by as many people as possible. For example, toilets that are designed for universal design are three inches taller than standard. This makes the toilet easier to use for those who have trouble bending and makes transfer from a wheelchair easier. Universal design may include wider doorways, floating sinks that enable a wheelchair to roll beneath, lever handles on doors and faucets, higher counters to eliminate bending or lower counters to accommodate a wheelchair. Resilient flooring to reduce fatigue and prevent injury from falls, as well as non-slip flooring are also typically included in universal design.

Common projects

The total list of projects you could undertake for your home to assist in aging in place is nearly endless. However, there are some common projects that most people will want to include, whether as a part of universal design during a regular update or with the idea of living in the home as you age.

ProjectDescriptionCost
16-foot rampA permanent ramp that allows you to enter your home using a walker or wheelchair$1,600-$3,200
Grab barsPlacing grab bars at entry points to the shower, and beside the toilet to assist in transfer$140 for three grab bars
Door wideningWidening doorways to at least 34 inches wide to accommodate a walker or wheelchair$700 per doorway
Chair liftAllowing access to upper levels with a chair lift.$3,000-$12,000
Full bathroom remodelComplete remodel including flooring, toilet, sink, faucets, and shower$3,000-$35,000 
Curbless showerCreating a barrier-free shower for walking or wheeling into$5,000-$6,000
Changing faucets to those with lever handlesMaking it easier for those with arthritis to turn on and off the water$400 each
Installing handrails 1 on either side of stepsAssisting in safely navigating stairs$100 per l.f.
Installing anti-slip ADA approved American Olean bathroom flooringPrevents slips and falls in the bathroom$1,300
Ceiling liftAssisting in moving from wheelchair to bed or other seating for those with mobility issues$1,500-$5,000
Walk-in tubMaking bathtubs accessible for those with mobility problems$5,000-$10,000
Raising or lowering countertops and cabinetsMaking the kitchen more accessible for those who have trouble bending or those who need a wheelchair$15,000-$20,000
Widening hallwaysMaking hallways manageable for those with walkers or wheelchairs$800-$1,400
Replacing windowsMaking windows easier to open, shut, and clean$600-$1,500 each


Remodeling by room

Not every room of your home is going to require any modifications for you to continue to live in your home as you age, while others may require extensive adaptations. This depends largely on the current state of your home, and what obstacles you foresee yourself and loved ones potentially encountering in your home as you age. These modifications are the most recommended by room of the home by the AARP and MetLife.

Kitchen

In the kitchen, you may want to consider raising your countertops or installing a more shallow sink if you have trouble bending. Higher counters and a shallow sink mean less time bending to do tasks. Or, if you will be using a wheelchair, lowering your cabinets and counters can make this room more accessible as well. You may also want to switch knobs, faucet levels, and door knobs to levers to make opening them easier if you have trouble gripping. Most kitchen modifications cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

Bathroom

The bathroom is the most commonly remodeled room in the home to accommodate aging. Changes include adding grab bars, raising the height of toilets and counters, installing non-slip flooring, and converting a tub/shower to a walk-in curbless shower with a seat. These changes typically cost around $9,000 on average.

Bedroom

Most people find that their bedroom only needs minimal changes, including widening doorways for around $700 each, and removing throw rugs, which may cause trips and falls. You may also want to consider replacing your windows, with those that are easier to open-and-shut, as well as clean, such as double-hung vinyl 2 windows for $650 to $1,500 each.

Hallways

If you have narrow hallways, you may need to widen them to accommodate a wheelchair or walker, for around $800 to $1,400. Removing throw rugs to make the passage easier is also recommended.

Stairs

If you have a home with more than one story, or with steps leading from room to room, you may need to consider either installing a ramp at around $400 to $4,000 or installing a chair lift for around $3,000 to $4,000. If your stairs can’t accommodate a lift, you can also have an elevator installed for around $15,000 to $16,000.

Outdoors

The most common modification made outdoors is to install a ramp to make it easier to access your home for around $4,000.

Aging in place checklist

There are many checklists available that can help you determine if aging in place is something that may be achievable to you, and if modifying your home will help. This checklist by MetLife helps you calculate the costs of aging in place, as well as determining whether this is feasible for you. Another checklist is available at the NAHB, which can help you locate smaller areas to update.

In addition, it’s generally recommended taking a look at your home objectively, and see what changes may be needed to make it easier for you to continue to live there. This may include:

  • Removing throw rugs to prevent falls.
  • Swapping out cabinet knobs for pulls.
  • Putting in a toe-touch operated faucet in the kitchen.
  • Installing sensor 3 lights that go on when you enter a room to make navigating it more safe.
  • Swapping out doorknobs for lever handles.
  • Installing easily opened double-casement windows for ease of opening and cleaning.
  • Putting in transition strips instead of thresholds at changes of room or flooring.
  • Putting seat extenders on existing toilets to make them easier to use without bending.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • If your home is large enough, and installing a chairlift is not something you wish to pursue aesthetically or for safety reasons, you may want to consider installing an elevator for around $15,000 to $16,000.
  • If you live alone, hiring a service such as Safety Watch can also be an invaluable help in aging in place. Safety Watch allows you to summon help in the event of an emergency or fall for around $35 a month. They also have a fall alert system, which will automatically send a signal in the event of a fall for around $50 a month.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Visual contrast is important for things like transitions to new rooms to help prevent falls and make it easier to navigate your home. This may include using dark-colored rubber treads on light stairs, or installing things like toe-kick lighting in the kitchen.
  • Start with small projects before you are in need of them, then add more as time goes by so your home can be truly modified by the time you need it.
  • Keep this type of remodeling in mind any time you update your home; these changes often cost about the same as typical remodels, but can help you remain in your home longer.
  • Work with a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, who can help you make the most of your current residence. You can locate a specialist at the National Association of Home Builders.
  • If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for a grant to retrofit your home.

FAQs

  • What does an aging in place design checklist include?

An aging in place design checklists includes all areas of the home you interact with, and allows you to determine those areas that may pose a potential issue.

  • What is an aging in place design certification?

A certified aging-in-place specialist is someone who has undergone specialized training by the  National Association of Homebuilders to modify homes for aging in place.

  • What does an aging in place remodeling checklist include?

An aging in place remodeling checklist includes all areas of the home that are typically in need of modification or remodeling to allow you to remain in the space as you age.

  • What is a senior living facility?

A senior living facility is an assisted living, long-term senior care program, where a senior can live independently, or semi-independently according to their needs.

  • What is a naturally occurring retirement community?

This term is used to describe a large community where most of the residents are over 60, but no plan was put in place to allow the seniors to continue living unassisted in their homes.

  • What does it means to age in place?

To age in place means to continue living in your home after you pass retirement, without the need to move to an assisted living community or nursing home.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Handrails: A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities
2 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
3 Sensor: Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal

Cost a remodel to adapt a home for aging in place varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Aiea, HI
+36%
Albany, NY
+17%
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Antioch, CA
+30%
Antioch, TN
+18%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Bellaire, TX
+31%
Boston, MA
+40%
Bowie, MD
+16%
Brawley, CA
-14%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Cape Coral, FL
-9%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Concord, CA
+30%
Decatur, GA
+9%
Denver, CO
+1%
Fenton, MO
+14%
Florissant, MO
+17%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Graham, WA
-1%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Hamilton, TX
-27%
Hanford, CA
-23%
Hatfield, PA
+44%
Houston, TX
+24%
Howell, MI
-5%
Hurst, TX
+13%
Kansas City, KS
+16%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lawton, OK
-38%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Lupton, MI
-53%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Millsboro, DE
-23%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Murray, KY
-25%
New York, NY
+77%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Phoenix, AZ
0%

Labor cost in your zip code

Last modified:   
Methodology and sources