Preparing Your Home for a Senior Relative

Real Estate Agent with Benchmark Realty, LLC 328426

Do you have a senior family member who is quickly approaching a time in their life they can no longer live by themselves? As a family member, you and the senior have several options and preparing your home for a senior relative is one of them.

We know all too well as they age, their abilities become more and more limited. Living alone can become very dangerous to them. Some seniors do choose to live in assisted-living facilities, but for many families, this is not an option nor the only choice.


Preparing Your Home for a Senior Relative


Not all homes are prepared or equipped for a senior. Depending on the senior's ability to navigate one's home and how the home is finished, certain features and precautions are to be considered in preparing your home for a senior relative.


Largest Risks: Falls and Slips for Seniors


It is shocking to see the national statistics of US seniors over age 65, about one-fourth will fall or slip every year. Medicines and certain conditions affect coordination, balance, and vision. Traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, cuts, and torn muscles are some of the tragic outcomes of falls.


Parts of the home are sure flags for concern of the residing senior relative. Staircases, step-ups, and step-downs into rooms are major concerns. Are the handrails solid, is a chair-lift for stairs a consideration, or are ramps needed in inside and outside of the home?  One fall can harm the senior causing recovery to last months or even years.


Knobs, Pulls, and Handles


Many aging seniors suffer from painful and weakened joints from diseases and illnesses like carpal tunnel and arthritis. Turning door handles or pulling cabinet knobs can be painful or even impossible for some seniors. Changes to the hardware might include levered door handles or larger cabinet pulls. Broken hardware should be replaced as well. 


Bathroom Changes

Bathrooms may pose the most difficult areas for seniors to navigate. Tubs and showers with slick surfaces and curtailing designs form obstacles for seniors. When wet, the bathroom conditions worsen 10 fold. Without extra grab bars, showing seats, and non-slick features, the bathrooms pose real concerns for seniors.

Bathroom remodeling can be expensive. As Realtors® we are all well aware of the costs to remodel or redesign a bathroom. Using ADA Compliant features adds to the remodeling costs. The Americans with Disabilities Act Guidelines for safe showers and bathrooms may provide the homeowner preparing for a senior with ideas and suggestions for a safe transition. 


Other Decisions in Preparing Your Home for a Senior Relative


The senior relative probably has a current home. Do you as a family sell the home, rent it out, or allow another family member to move into it? Many families do sell the relative's home because they need money to help with assisting the senior in their home, create cash for an assisted living facility, or pay for the changes needed in preparing your home for a senior relative. And as we saw above, these changes can be quite expensive.

Some homes can be easily cleaned and placed on the market. Others may need some or even extensive repairs before the home is ready to be listed. Many relatives are not ready to invest in repairs or mentally prepared to take on hiring contractors and painters. Another option that is not considered often is to sell the home to a real estate investor. This approached removes all the anxiety, stress, and decision making about the relative's home. The transaction is fast and results in a cash sale.



Many relatives cannot accept the thought or financial obligation of a senior relative going to an assisted-living facility. They prefer to have the senior come live with them. With this decision comes many considerations including prepping the house for an aging senior with limited abilities. Lastly, what does the family do with the senior's current home? If you are facing this situation in life, hopefully, these ideas and other suggestions can benefit you and your family.


Comments (5)

Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Good and very appropriate subject @artDavid Wright and thank you for bringing to our attention. Jeff

Sep 09, 2019 10:05 PM
David Wright

My pleasure Jeff. There is more to having a senior come to live in a home than most would imagine.

Sep 11, 2019 12:48 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

David great advice, sometimes the seniors do not listen to good advice, I remember when my dad had a two story house.... need I say more?, Endre

Sep 09, 2019 11:35 PM
David Wright

Andre, I can appreciate your position. They want their independence so badly and really, really hate to leave the home of their memories. It reminds them their time is near. As people age, they don't handle change as well or not at all.

Sep 11, 2019 12:50 PM
Michele Cadogan 917-861-9166
Fillmore Real Estate 2990 Av U, Bklyn , NY 11229 - Brooklyn, NY
Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker -

Thanks   for sharing these tips to help home owners prepare their homes for senior relatives or even someone who maybe physically challanged.

Sep 11, 2019 09:51 PM
David Wright

Thank you Michele, it is more of a process and considerations that I had imagined when I began the process of writing this. Yes, we see these additions in the home when showing properties, but it really didn't register with me just how involved this process is. My SRES gave me some insight but not to this extent. 

Sep 14, 2019 04:11 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

David you are so right now that I am getting there  hate to admit it but time for me to take my own advice... but I am fighting it too:))Endre

Sep 11, 2019 10:20 PM
David Wright

I get it Endre. Our next home will be a one-story house with little or no steps!

Sep 14, 2019 04:12 PM
Bo Zivak
Zivak Realty Group - Nashville, TN
Nashville Real Estate Broker

Write on a very nice and helpful subject. Thanks for sharing here.

Nov 15, 2022 01:48 AM