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Home Accessibility Modifications

Home accessibility modifications, which can also be called environmental modifications, are physical changes made in the home environment to accommodate the needs of older adults and people with disabilities. From motion sensor lights to lever handles, from portable ramps to widened doorways, home modifications support a person’s ability to make living independently possible.  

Keep in mind that many modifications are easy, no- and low-cost. You can find some at home improvement stores and, depending on how handy you are, may require help to install. Some modifications are as simple as repurposing a room to be more accommodating while others call for a redesign of the home or the services of a professional contractor.

Additionally, home accessibility modifications prevent accidents while improving comfort and ease-of-use. But a home that’s safer and more accessible is also more inviting. With a growing desire to age in place, the ability to invite people to your home is vital to your quality of life. With a home that’s visitable, even if your guests have trouble with steps or use a wheelchair or walker, both you and your guests can feel comfortable and confident getting together to spend time together.

Learn more. Check out the Home Safety 101 infographic for tips to make your home safer and more accessible. Please visit the Vistability website from the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) for information and resources for improving visitablity in your home. 

Home Modifications on a Budget

Home modifications don’t have to be expensive to be effective. A simple change can make a big difference on safety and livability. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Remove clutter and hazards to prevent tripping and slipping
  • Remove small throw rugs
  • Attach or remove loose stair runners and attach nonslip grips
  • Move furniture to allow for easy passage
  • Make sure lighting is bright enough
  • Store food and household items in places for easy access
  • Keep the phone where it can be answered easily
  • Check all railings on walkways and stairs

Learn more. Please visit the AARP Livable Communities website for more cost-saving home modification tips and ideas.

Livable spaces include:

Home layout and design, inside and out

  • No-step entries and layout
  • Doorways and halls wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers
  • Even floors, pavements and surfaces
  • Doorways without thresholds
  • Nonslip flooring


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


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

Furnishings and decor

  • Furniture arrangements that allow easy passage
  • No throw rugs
  • Cords and wires that are contained and out of traffic areas
  • Widened doorways

Check out the Make Room For More Accessibility infographic for home modifications ideas, room by room. 

Learn more. Please visit the AARP Livable Communities website. Check out the AARP HomeFit Guide for cost-saving home accessibility modification tips and ideas.

In search of professional guidance?

Here are some options:

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

Remodelers should be specifically trained to create barrier-free homes. To find a remodeler who are Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) to build home accessibility modifications, please visit the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) website.










Date Modified: 07/24/2018

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