“Aging-in-Place” is a buzz term of the 21st century. It’s one of those phrases we hear more and more thanks to seniors that are healthier and more active than in decades past, making them more likely to want to remain in their homes during their “golden years” rather than head to a “facility” for older adults.

Aging-in-place is a logical desire and a great option for many aging Canadians. After all, there’s no place more comfortable AND more comforting than your own home. Whether it’s the one in which you raised your family or the one you moved to after the kids were gone, it’s the place you know and love, so wanting to remain there is a natural inclination.

But your house isn’t always practical for the particulars of aging. Our bodies slow down, sometimes making it difficult to navigate steps, climb in and out of the bathtub, and do other things that we once took for granted. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to leave your house. You can make aging-in-place renovations to your current abode that can make it amenable to any limitations you might have as you grow older.

Aging-in-Place: What needs to be addressed?

Three essential qualities for home renovations will keep your house working for you.

1. Safety

This is likely the most important. You’ll want to tour your house and earmark the things that are no longer safe for you or others living in your home.

2. Accessibility

If anyone in your house has mobility issues or uses a wheelchair, you’ll want to ensure they can still access the things necessary for daily living, like sinks or kitchen cabinets.

3. Reachability

At age 80, you won’t be climbing on chairs to reach things, so make sure access to all necessities is easy.


As you consider aging-in-place renovations to your home or the home of an aging relative, start by assessing each room. Go from space to space and look for things like tripping hazards, hard-to-access areas, too many steps, or spots that are difficult to maintain. Consider bringing in a building process professional that can offer suggestions on making problem places safer for those living in the home.



Changes to Consider

Here are some of the changes you might consider making:

  • A more functional bathroom

– Often, the main bathroom is the first place that needs to be addressed. Many homeowners opt for a complete renovation, which allows them to replace cumbersome tubs with walk-in showers, add shower bars, install non-slip flooring, put in comfort-height toilets, and install cabinets that are more easily accessible. These costs can run anywhere from just a few thousand dollars to much more, depending on what you want to change.

  • Alter your room layout

– If you have a two-story home and have had an upstairs bedroom, you might want to think about what you can do to put the master suite on the first level. This could potentially involve adding an addition to that floor, if needed, but might just involve some minor changes. You may also want to reposition your laundry room if it’s on a floor other than the main level. As you age, you won’t want to be carrying laundry baskets up and down the steps.

  • Eliminate stairs and level changes

– Get rid of your stairs whenever possible. If you can’t make changes that allow you to use just a lower floor, consider the installation of chair lifts or even an elevator, put ramps outside, and do whatever else is necessary to create a single-floor living. You’ll also want to widen hallways to 1 meter, even if no one in your home requires a wheelchair. It could be that, in the future, a wheelchair is necessary.

  • Don’t miss the small stuff.

You might want to ask your contractor or handyman to make changes.

  • Replacing doorknobs with levers

  • Replacing traditional faucets with others that have blade handles or motion controls

  • Lowering wall switches and raising receptacles

  • Lowering the cooktop

  • Installing pullout shelves and a Lazy Susan in the kitchen

At F.M. Construction, we stand ready to help you make your home senior-friendly. We can offer suggestions to help you gracefully age in place, staying in your home as long as possible rather than having to move elsewhere, including into a relative’s home. View our recent projects and give us a call at 604-880-4081 to discuss the details and formulate a plan to move into the next phase of your life.