It won’t come as a surprise that the vast majority of middle-aged and older Americans want to remain living independently in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. This was verified by a survey conducted by AARP. This regular survey, based on telephone interviews of 2,000 persons age 45 and over, examines the opinions and behavior of middle-aged and older Americans regarding their current and future housing situations.
These older Americans want their independence, but they also need to be able to function in their own homes. The survey found that seventy percent of those who are able to make alterations to their homes have made at least one modification in order to make it easier for them to get around. As many as two-thirds of those who made modifications to their home believe those improvements will help allow them to live in their homes longer than they would have been able otherwise, most estimate for another ten years or more. The most popular improvements were focused and accessibility and home safety. Of those polled, 85% said they have already made simple changes to their homes, such as placing non-skid strips in bathtubs, safety bars in showers and handrails on both side of the stairwells.
The top 10 most popular home improvements reported were:
Grab bars in bathrooms.
Levered faucets in kitchen sinks.
Handrails on both sides of stairwells and on front and rear steps.
Grab bars in showers; removal of any door threshold.
Movable shower heads for those who must sit.
Portable shower seats.
A bathroom with a bath/shower as well as a bedroom on the first floor.
Widened doors to accommodate wheelchairs.
Ramps for those using walkers and wheelchairs.
As Americans continue to live longer and demand independence, these types of improvements will likely continue to increase.