Home Modification

What is 'Home Modification'

A home modification is any alteration made to a home to meet the needs of people with physical limitations so they can live independently and safely. Examples of home modifications include removing throw rugs to prevent slips and falls or installing grab bars in the bathroom for stability.

BREAKING DOWN 'Home Modification'

Home modifications is a term that refers to many minor home modifications and repairs made in order to make a home more liveable for individuals with physical limitations. The price of home modifications ranges from as little as a few hundred dollars to as much as a few thousand. For larger projects, some financing options may be available and some contractors even offer reduced rates and charge sliding-scale fees based on a senior’s income and ability to pay. The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modifications is one of the best resources in the U.S., offering training and education courses and technical assistance.

Home Modifications and Independent Living

Though they are not exclusively for seniors, many associate home modifications with the elderly. Many homes may not be equipped to house individuals as they age. There are structural barriers that can impinge upon an older individual’s independence, and make it so they are unable to go about their daily routines without assistance. Many homes older adults live in are single family homes that were built in a time when physical accessibility for either the elderly or people with disabilities was not a consideration. Even now, there are few building requirements concerning physical accessibility in single family homes.  The structural incompatibility can make it impossible for an individual to stay in their own home as they grow older, sometimes causing them to move into a retirement home. If the individual decides to stay in their home, they may need to hire a caretaker, an ongoing expense many people cannot afford.

What are not home modifications?

Because of the breadth of the term, people often think home modifications include any home improvements or home renovations. While in some cases, home modifications might be considered both a home improvement or renovation, home modifications themselves occupy a separate category referring specifically to alterations made to a home in order to make it more livable for a person with physical disabilities.

Types of Home Modifications

Home modifications range in price and project scope. Some of the most common include larger digital displays for computers, temperature controls, easy-to-use fixtures for light switches or faucets, grab bars or rails, door openers, security systems, wheelchair ramps or stair lifts, and walk-in tubs.