With more and more seniors opting to stay in their own homes, Canada’s renovation industry is seeing a trend towards “aging in place” updates. According to CMHC, 85% of Canadians over the age of 55 want to remain in their current home, even if they experience changes in health.The government has recognized the need to improve the safety and functionality of residences to allow seniors to live out their lives at home.
With this in mind, the Government of Ontario has introduced the Healthy Homes Tax Credit to assist seniors in paying for some of these much needed modifications.
John Napolitano, Vice President of Royal Home Improvements, a CARP-certified home renovator and custom homebuilder in the GTA, spoke to eieihome and says he’s seen an increase in demand for renovations to improve accessibility, safety and comfort of seniors’ homes. While industry associations such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association are raising awareness of the changes to come for industry professionals, Napolitano says aging homeowners also need to take notice and action in order to allow for comfortable living in their homes moving forward. While many seniors fear their home will look like an institution after modifications have been made, Napolitano notes many of the necessary alterations can be done discretely, tastefully, and within budget.
He offers these tips to renovate kitchens and bathrooms to make them safe and comfortable for years to come:
A common site for slips and falls, the bathroom can be a particularly hazardous area of the home for seniors. To ensure the bathroom is both comfortable and safe, Napolitano recommends the following changes:
- Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower area.
- Switch to a comfort height toilet to make seating and standing easier and safer.
- Swap the tub for a barrier-free shower or a walk-in bathtub.
- Install non-slip tiles.
The ability to cook for oneself is an essential component of independent living, but the kitchen can pose many challenges to seniors. Napolitano recommends the following kitchen updates:
- Install interior hardware such as pull out drawers, lazy susans or magic corners in cabinets. These updates make it easier for those with bad knees and backs to access hard to reach places.
- Install task lighting to ensure preparation areas are well lit.
Ensure upper cabinetry is installed at a level that is easily accessible for the homeowner.