How much does it cost a remodel to adapt a home for aging in place?
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Aging in Place Remodeling Cost Guide
Updated: August 17, 2022
As people get older, many begin to have difficulty continuing to live in their homes with the same level of comfort and ease. Between having difficulty navigating the stairs or just the average bending, stretching, and grasping, there are plenty of every-day activities that people take for granted. To combat these issues as they get older, 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.
On average, a homeowner will spend $3,000 to $15,000 to remodel their homes for aging in place, with most people paying $9,500 to add a walk-in or roll-in shower to a bathroom with safety grab bars and non-slip flooring, as well as a universal height toilet and sink. If you are looking to install faucets and door knobs with lever handles for easier turning throughout your home, you can expect to pay as low as $350. However, some homeowners can pay as much as $50,000 to remodel your entire home with universal height sinks and countertops, lever replacements, broader hallways, and ramps.
Cost of Aging in Place
|Remodel for Aging in Place Prices|
|National average cost||$9,500|
What Does Aging in Place Mean?
Aging in place refers to staying in your home as you continue to grow older. This process involves planning ahead and making accommodations to make your place of residence safer and more comfortable. First, you should think about what kind of help you will need as you age, whether for mobility, visual aids, comfort, or anything in between.
You can make plenty of modifications to your home, depending on your needs. For mobility and comfort, you can widen hallways and doorways, alter your staircase or add an elevator, and switch out door knobs, among other things. If your issues are more focused around visual impairments, you can add motion sensored lights, brighter LED lighting, open shelving, and more.
Aging in Place Remodel Cost by Location
Many of the rooms in your home may require extensive work if you plan to live there safely and comfortably as you move into your older years. The type of renovations you’ll need to undertake depends largely on the current state of your home as well as the obstacles you foresee yourself or loved ones potentially encountering in your home. While you may not have to modify every room to suit your evolving lifestyle, there are a handful of common spaces that you should focus on both inside and around your home. Between these locations, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50,000 on average.
|Location||Average Remodel Cost|
|Bathroom||$20 - $25,000|
|Other||$50 - $40,000|
|Bedroom||$80 - $12,000|
|Outdoors||$300 - $5,000|
|Stairs||$800 - $45,000|
|Kitchen||$8,000 - $50,000|
Aging in Place Bathroom Design
The bathroom is the most commonly remodeled room in the home to accommodate aging. This room is one of the main areas that poses the most risk daily. Among all the remodeling options, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $25,000. One of the biggest issues many people face is with falls, so it’s always a good idea to install non-slip flooring.
Many people focus on their bathtub or shower by replacing their basic model with a walk-in or roll-in design. You can also install anti-scalding temperature controls to avoid burns. Modifying your toilet is a good idea. You can do this by raising the toilet height to make it easier to use and adding automatic flushing functions. If you use a wheelchair, you may also want to widen your doorways to better accommodate your chair.
You can also make other, smaller modifications, such as switching to brighter LED lighting or adding safety grab bars in the wet area and by the toilet.
|Aging in Place Project (Bathroom)||Average Remodel Costs|
|Lighting Installation||$20 - $100|
|Anti-Scalding Temperature Controls||$80 - $300|
|Grab Bars Installation||$90 - $300|
|Comfortable Height Toilets||$100 - $1,600|
|Automatic Flushing Mechanism||$250 - $500|
|Door Widening||$300 - $2,500|
|Curbless Shower||$2,500 - $9,000|
|Walk-in Tub||$3,000 - $25,000|
|Non-Slipping Flooring Addition||$4,500 - $8,000|
|Counter Raising||$15,000 - $20,000|
Other Aging in Place Remodels
In addition to modifying specific rooms throughout your home, many modifications focus on your house as a whole. Altogether, these remodels can cost between $50 and $40,000. Many people widen their hallways to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers and add sensor lighting throughout their interior. On top of making your home safer, this can be much more convenient. It’s also possible to set up a complete home automation system to make daily tasks easier and a security system to ensure your peace of mind.
Even doing something as simple as installing open shelving can make a big difference. Rather than having to open and close cabinetry, everything will be readily available for you. This can be especially useful in your kitchen, but these shelves can also be added in hallways, bedrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms.
|Aging in Place Project||Average Remodel Costs|
|Home Automation||$50 - $10,000|
|Sensor Light Installation||$350 - $500|
|Open Shelving Installation||$400 - $600|
|Widen Hallways without Structural Changes||$800 - $1,400|
|Widen Hallways with Structural Changes||$30,000 - $40,000|
|Home Security System||$15 - $70 (per month)|
Aging in Place Bedroom Design
Most people find that their bedroom only needs minimal changes, including widening doorways and removing throw rugs, which may cause trips and falls. Depending on what projects you decide to do, you can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $12,000. Many people make alterations to their beds to avoid falling out of them at night. Since the bed is the place you’ll be spending the most time in while in your bedroom, it is arguably the most important spot to focus on.
Some common alterations include installing a low-profile bed or a ceiling lift to make it easier to get into and out of the bed. Placing a safety mat on your bedside floor is another addition you can make. Beyond your bed, you may also want to consider replacing your windows, making them easier to use and clean. There are plenty of options available that can easily be opened and closed with one hand, which will make your day-to-day tasks much easier.
|Aging in Place Project (Bedroom)||Average Remodel Costs|
|Safety Mat at Bedside Floor||$80 - $200|
|Throw Rug Removal||$150 - $250|
|Doorway Widening||$300 - $2,500|
|Low Profile Bed Installation||$500 - $7,000|
|Window Replacement||$550 - $1,050 (per window)|
|Ceiling Lift Installation||$5,000 - $12,000|
Outdoor Universal Design
Many places within your home require your focus. Yet, it is also important to make your space accessible from the outside. On average, it can cost between $300 and $5,000 to complete these outdoor projects. Many homeowners install ramps and widen walkways to make it easier to enter and exit their homes. This can be especially helpful if you have a wheelchair or walker. Both of these additions add value to your home and ensure you stay safe through every season. Additionally, it’s a great idea to add handrails and sensor lights for extra support. This can make your life much easier when it’s dark or icy outside.
|Aging in Place Project (Outdoors)||Average Remodel Costs|
|Outdoor Sensor Lights Installation||$300 - $400|
|Widen Walkways||$500 - $5,000|
|Installing handrails on either side of steps||$700 - $1,200|
|Ramp Installation||$1,400 - $3,000|
Aging in Place Interior Staircase Design
If you live in a multi-story home, the stairs can transform from an elegant aesthetic feature into a daily frustration. Luckily, there are many ways you can modify your staircase to make it easier to move throughout your house. These modifications cost between $800 and $45,000. Installing handrails on either side of your steps is a great place to start. By adding these, you take stress off your joints and minimize the risk of falling up or down the stairs. You can also go a step further and add a stairlift or even an elevator to completely eradicate the need to walk up and down them. While these installations are more costly, they are a safer, long-term solution to the problem. Installing an elevator is the most expensive remodel you can undertake because it involves a complete wall-to-ceiling remodel, rather than just adding things to a pre-existing staircase.
|Aging in Place Project (Stairs)||Average Remodel Costs|
|Installing Handrails||$800 - $1,200|
|Stairlift Installation||$4,000 - $8,000|
|Elevator Installation||$35,000 - $45,000|
Aging in Place Kitchen Design
Many kitchen modifications range from simple to complex and can cost between $150 and $50,000. In the kitchen, you may want to consider raising your countertops and installing a sink with a more shallow bowl if you have trouble bending. If you will be using a wheelchair, lowering your cabinets and counters can make this room more accessible.
You may also want to switch knobs, faucets, and door knobs to levers and replace your windows to make opening them easier if you have trouble gripping. The kitchen is another great place to add non-slip flooring and a wider doorway. If you need to start from scratch, you can completely redesign your kitchen layout for easier maneuverability.
|Aging in Place Project (Kitchen)||Average Costs|
|Switching Knobs to Levers||$150 - $350|
|Shallow Sink Addition||$200 - $3,000|
|Door Widening||$300 - $2,500|
|Window Replacement||$550 - $1,050 (per window)|
|Non-Slipping Flooring Addition||$6,400 - $11,000|
|Countertops and Appliances Raising||$15,000 - $20,000|
|Cabinet and Counters Lowering (for wheelchairs)||$15,000 - $20,000|
|New Kitchen Layout||$9,000 - $50,000|
What is Universal Design?
You can age in place in many ways. Different remodels that you may want to undertake will assist you. Suppose you have difficulty with mobility, for example. In that case, your adaptations may reflect that with the widening of doorways to accommodate a future wheelchair and ramps to eliminate the need to step up. Someone with arthritis may change all the doorknobs and faucet handles to levers to eliminate the need to grab them. While it may be impossible to predict what types of adaptations you may need in the future, many universal design tenets help you determine what changes you may need to make.
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 the standard. This makes the toilet easier to use for those who have trouble bending and makes the transfer from a wheelchair easier. Universal design may also 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, non-slip flooring is typically included in universal design to reduce fatigue and prevent injury from falls.
Why is Aging in Place Important?
As people begin to get into their older years, they have to make an important decision about how and where they are living. According to an AARP survey, approximately 90% of Americans want to stay at home rather than move into an assisted living facility. While you may think it is safer to move into a supervised space, there are plenty of ways that you can make your home safer and more comfortable.
By doing this, senior citizens can maintain their independence over their routines and their lives in general. In addition to being more comfortable and familiar, this is actually the best option in terms of mental health. This independence improves their overall physical health as well.
To top it off, aging in place is the more cost-effective option. Even a shared room in an assisted living center can cost between $10,000 and $20,000 per year, and a private room can cost more than $75,000. Living at home helps people save thousands of dollars per month as you’ll only have to pay for the remodeling projects once. The cost of the projects ranges anywhere from $20 to $50,000. After completing the remodel, you have a safe, comfortable space for years and years to come. You can learn more about the different types of modifications you can make for your home from your local Area Agency on Aging.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Owning a pet has many benefits, especially as an older adult who is aging in place. Beyond providing emotional support, there are also plenty of advantages that one can gain specifically from having a service dog. Working dogs can be trained to perform various tasks for people with limited mobility, visual impairments, hearing problems, or any other form of physical impairment.
On average, it can cost between $15,000 and $30,000 to train, raise, and register a service dog. However, countless nonprofit organizations place dogs with people in need for free. Additionally, people with physical disabilities can apply for grants to offset the cost.
If you live alone, it is a good idea to look into different types of alert systems that allow you to have the ultimate peace of mind at any point throughout the day. For starters, you should look into getting a basic security system to ensure you’re well protected from intruders. Security systems generally cost between $15 to $70 a month.
Various medical alert systems help you summon assistance in the event of an emergency or fall. Some systems will even automatically send an alert, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. These medical alert services cost between $20 and $50 a month on average.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Visual contrast is important for 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 need 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 and help you remain in your home longer.
- It’s always a good idea to work with a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist to 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.
- What does an aging in place design checklist include?
An aging in place design checklist includes all areas you interact with inside the home to allow you to determine any spots that may pose a potential issue for those with limited mobility.
- 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 safely in place.
- What are the benefits of aging in place?
Aging in place allows people to maintain their independence and stay within their normal routines rather than uprooting them from everything they have known. Remaining at home is inherently healthier on a person’s mind and body, which means they can live better for longer. Plus, it is more cost-effective, too.
- What is one of the most dangerous rooms in an older person's home?
While accidents can happen in any room throughout your home, the two most dangerous places to be are the kitchen and the bathroom. Between grease fires, slips, hot water, and sharp objects, there are countless ways you can injure yourself in both rooms. The risk only increases as you get older.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.