Problems and solutions of home modification for caregivers

Sometimes modifying an aging or disabled loved one’s home – or your own if your loved one moves in – poses more questions than answers for the caregiver. The two main goals are safety and accessibility, but achieving them may not be as easy as putting two and two together. The following table may be of help you make a home both safe and accessible to a care receiver – including several medical supplies for home available at Discount Medical Supplies.

Home modification





Trouble getting in and out of the bath or shower and/or on and off the toilet.

·         Grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet.

·         Slip-proof mats in the tub or shower.

·         Skid-resistant rugs on the floor.

Trouble reaching personal care items and adjusting temperature controls.

·         Shower seat or transfer bench.

·         Hand held shower.

·         Set water temperature to a low setting.

Trouble turning faucet handles.

·         Single lever handles in the sink and tub or shower.


Not well-lit.

·         Under-cabinet fluorescent.

·         Ceiling lights.

Loose or frayed rugs.

·         Non-skid, no fringe mats in front of the sink and near the refrigerator and stove.

Difficulty reaching items without standing on a stool or chair.

·         Place oft-used items within reach.

·         Hand held grabbers.


·         Make sure towel racks and paper towel holders are away from the stove.

·         Place appliances close to outlets, ensuring cords are away from the sink or stove.

·         Eliminate extension cords and appliances with frayed cords.

·         Make sure that on and off dials on appliances are easy to read.

Home access

Trouble turning doorknobs and keeping balance when opening front or back door.

·         Lever-type door openers and handrails at entrances to home.

Trouble keeping balance on stairs and thresholds.

·         Ramps with handrails.

·         Eliminate or lower thresholds.

·         Increase lighting for better visibility.

Dark rooms and hallways at night.

·         Handrails and nightlights that illuminate the path from bed to bath to kitchen.

·         Eliminate clutter, uneven or worn carpets, and/or objects that can be tripped over.

Safety and comfort

Poor lighting around outer entrances, first story windows, and exterior walkways.

·         Security lighting (motion detector type or on-at-dusk/off-at-dawn).

Personal safety and crime prevention.

·         A security alarm system.

·         Panic buttons can be remote-controlled and carried by the care receiver or placed where your loved one spends most of his or her time (next to the bed, kitchen, bathroom, etc.|

The care receiver does not know who to call in case of an emergency.

·         Keep a list of important/emergency number – written in large, bold letters – near the telephone, including your number, and your loved one’s own number and address.

Poor fire protection.

·         Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors according to package directions.

·         Change batteries twice a year.

·         Keep a fire extinguisher in a convenient location in the kitchen.

Poor heating or ventilation.

·         Check and repair the heating system.

·         Install insulation, ceiling fans, storm windows and air conditioning.


Related: Questionnaire: How safe is your loved one’s house?