The majority of older Canadians want to age in place. This is not all that surprising – home is where the heart is, after all! But if home is where you want to remain for as long as possible, you’ll need to plan for it.
A Closer Look at Elder Care Renovations
When people think about home modifications for seniors, they often imagine installing a grab bar or two, but there’s more to it than that.
Older Canadians are in better physical shape than ever before, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to plan for what you may think are “old people problems”. Mobility issues and vision changes are common. The risk of chronic conditions also increases with age.
When you’re planning your future, you’ll want to factor in the cost of renovating your home to accommodate these challenges. Did you just hear a cha-ching? While renovations can be expensive, they’re not as costly as retirement homes and assisted living facilities, which cost from $2000 to $6000 per month, according to the Government of Ontario.
Here are examples of some elder care renovations that can help make aging in place easier and safer:
- Wider doorways and hallways to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs
- Slip-resistant flooring, such as vinyl which provides better a level surface traction than stone to prevent falls
- A ramp to at least one entrance to eliminate the need to navigate stairs to get in and out of the home
- A curbless shower with a wide entry or a walk-in bathtub
- A bath seat in the shower
- Flat transition flooring and strips between rooms to minimize the risk of falls
- Chair lift or elevator if you have stairs in your home
- Lower kitchen counters to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter
- Grab bars next to the toilet and shower
You may be entitled to some $$$
You can apply for a home accessibility credit to help pay for your renovations if you:
- are eligible for the disability tax creditfor the year
- are 65 years of age or older
Renovations or alterations that qualify are those that allow you to access your home and move around and function within it, and those that reduce harm when inside or gaining access to the home.
Other tips for aging in place
Here are a few other tips for aging in place:
- Talk to your doctor. If either you or your partner is living with a chronic condition, your doctor may be able to tell you what types of challenges you can anticipate down the road.
- Home care. Reputable home care agencies have registered nurses on staff who can assess your care needs and make recommendations for in-home care services that best suit you and your circumstances.
- Consider your neighbourhood. You may love your home, but where it’s located matters. Is it safe? Is it close to family? Will you have easy access to a hospital, groceries, and your medical appointments?
- Do your homework. When it comes time to choose a contractor, ask family or friends for recommendations. Be sure to ask for credentials and references, and try to choose a contractor familiar with elder care renovations.
David Porter, CPCA
Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care
Find a retirement home. Government of Ontario. (2019). https://www.ontario.ca/page/find-retirement-home#section-4
Line 398 – Home Accessibility Expenses. Government of Canada. (2018). https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-398-home-accessibility-expenses.html
Long-term care accommodation costs and subsidy. Government of Ontario. (2019). https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-help-paying-long-term-care