Make Your Home Work for Your Needs

Home accessibility modifications are changes made to the home to make daily living easier for people with disabilities or mobility issues. They make your home easier and more comfortable to live in.

Many home modifications are simple to install and are available at low or no-cost, like motion sensor lights and portable ramps. Some home modifications may require redesigning your home or the help of a contractor, like widening doorways.

Home accessibility modifications can make a home more visitable too. If you have friends or family who use wheelchairs or walkers, home modifications will allow them to move more freely in your home when they visit. Some home modifications even qualify for tax deductions.

If you’re building a new home, consider using “universal design features”. These are features that are accessible to everyone no matter their age, size, or disability status, and can include wider doorways or lever door handles.

Learn more: Visit the Visitability website from the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) for information and resources on improving visitability in your home.

Types of Home Modifications

Home layout and design, inside and out:

  • No-step entries
  • Doorways and halls wide enough to fit wheelchairs or walkers
  • Even floors and surfaces
  • Doorways without thresholds
  • Non-slip flooring


  • Natural daylight and lighting that supports daily activities
  • Night lights
  • Switches controlled by voice, touch, or motion
  • Security lighting
  • Outdoor lighting


  • Lever door handles that are easier to open
  • Pull handles for cabinets
  • Faucet levers that don’t require turning
  • Grab bars in bathrooms and where stability is needed
  • Bed rails
  • Handrails on both sides of steps and stairs
  • Showers that includes a stable seat

Furnishings and decor:

  • Furniture arrangements that allow easy movement
  • No throw rugs
  • Cords and wires that are out of the way
  • Widened doorways

Learn more: The AARP HomeFit Guide has cost-saving home accessibility modification tips and ideas.

Livable Spaces

Home modifications don’t have to cost a lot of money to work well. A small change can make a big difference in safety and livability.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Remove clutter and hazards like small throw rugs to prevent tripping and slipping
  • Remove loose stair runners and attach non-slip grips
  • Move furniture to allow for easy movement
  • Make sure lighting is bright enough
  • Store food and household items in places that can be easily accessed
  • Keep the phone where it can be answered easily
  • Check all railings on walkways and stairs

Smart Home Technology

Smart home technology can improve a person’s living space and quality of life. These items can help people have better control over their home, improve accessibility and safety, and reduce energy use.

Smart home technology has four key benefits:

  1. Safety: Security systems, such as alarms and cameras, can create a safer and more secure environment.
  2. Accessibility: Certain smart devices use voice commands, which allow you to use many household features easily.
  3. Energy Efficient: Some smart features like lights and thermostats can be turned on or off automatically or as scheduled, reducing the amount of electricity used.
  4. Control: Many smart home devices are controlled by a smartphone or smart home hub. These devices use apps and/or a wireless Internet connection. For example, someone can tap a button on an app to open their garage doors.

In Search of Professional Guidance?

Here are some options:

  • An Occupational Therapist (OT) can advise on personal living and safety needs now and in the future. Visit the 2-1-1 website to find a local Occupational Therapist.

Financial Options for Home Modifications

Assistive Technology Loan Program:
Residents with disabilities or their family members can apply for low-interest cash loans to buy assistive technology and services.

Corporation for Independent Living – AccesSolutions:
Provides ramps, lifts, and other home modifications and assistive technology to income-eligible people with disabilities.

Programs for Private Home Repairs:
There are several options available to homeowners and renters looking to make home improvements, repairs, or modifications. These programs usually require using your own money.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Waiver:
This waiver provides services and support for people with a brain injury who are receiving or otherwise would receive care in an institution.

Home Modifications & Assistive Technology Financial Assistance:
More options for help paying for assistive technology or home modifications.