carpet floor The Bay Area

Home Additions to Make for Aging Parents in the Bay Area

If your parents are getting older but still adamant about staying in place, then it’s time to help them with a few home renovations that will make life easier for them and as well as creating a safer environment.

The Bay Area is a beautiful place to live. There’s no denying the beauty of the local scenery, so let’s do what we can to keep your aging parents safe and sound in their home if thats what they choose to do.

The best home additions to make for aging parents in the Bay Area include stair ramps, wheelchair lifts, carpeted rooms, high toilets, side-swinging ovens, and brighter lights. You should also consider making everything hands-free by using voice activation and motion sensors.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following info about home additions for aging parents in the Bay Area:

  • Several home renovations to bring safety and excitement to their lives
  • How you can make their lives more enjoyable through new additions
  • Realistic expectations regarding prices, time lengths, and more

Install Ramps to Every Entry Point

As stated by Senior Living, ramps can make a world of difference for aging people. Whether they’re rolling uphill with a wheelchair or they have trouble stepping up the stairs, a ramp can change it all. You don’t need to do too much to have a ramp installed. Contact a local Bay Area contractor to get a quote.

Home Advisor estimates that pro grade wheelchair ramps cost up to $3,000, but that’s more than worth it for safety purposes. Ramps can reduce hip problems, chances of falling, and many other hazardous scenarios. You can add a ramp to every entrance, including the front door and backyard. Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on which part of the Bay Area they live in.


Add Rails to the Stairs

Railing can make climbing stairs much more manageable. Slow, unsteady feet will feel much more confident when they have access to a rail. You can add a rail system to a ramp for better support, but they’re essential for any stairs around the house. Keep them on indoor and outdoor steps for the best results.

The rail’s material is worth noting. Consider that senior citizens are much more sensitive to extreme temperatures. An ice-cold morning can make an unprotected aluminum rail feel freezing to hands with reduced circulation. Furthermore, rust and corrosion can be dangerous. Use wooden railing indoors and weatherproof metal railing outside.

Safety Railings
Railings On Both Sides Of Stairs

Consider a Wheelchair Lift

Even if your parents aren’t using wheelchairs, they can benefit from stair risers. These small elevator-like contraptions can bring them upstairs and downstairs in about 30 seconds. It might take a little longer than usual, but it drastically reduces to odds of an unwanted injury. Lifts are also a great way to protect their expensive wheelchair.

Another option that’s similar to a wheelchair lift is a stairlift. They don’t have to attach their wheelchair. All they have to do is unfold the seat, sit down, and press the start button. Arrow Lift puts the price of these systems around $2,500 without installation. Call some local contractors for installation costs.


Change the Tile to Carpeted Floors

Tile is visually appealing, but it’s one of the most dangerous surfaces for senior living. It’s cold and hard, which can be quite hazardous for older people. Wearing socks or slippers will result in a fall, so remove the home’s tiled portions and add carpet. It might be a bit pricey to renovate all floors, but safety is very important.

If you cannot afford carpeted floors or your parents prefer tile or wood, you can add rugs. Area rugs come in all shapes and sizes. You can get customized shapes and sizes to fit any room in their home. Choose the padding, materials, and more.

carpet floor The Bay Area
Carpet For Better Traction

Paint or Cover Dull Walls for Visibility

The unanimous agreement among all senior living sources is that visibility is crucial. Dull white or gray walls can be challenging to differentiate from floors. If their home is filled with low-visibility colors, paint everything to their preferences. Try to paint the ceiling a different color than the walls and floors to add depth.

You could take this renovation a step further by adding rugs and carpets from the previous section. Bright colors make it easier for them to walk around without worrying about tripping hazards. It’s also a great way to boost their mood and brighten the day. These types of renovations can be done by a contractor or a knowledgeable DIY expert.


Make Everything As Hands-Free as Possible

Here are a few ways to make everything easier with hands-free technology:

  • Add motion sensors throughout the house for instant lighting. You could add them on the stairs, in the kitchen, garage, porch, and more.
  • Consider voice-activated tech. Alexa and many other products make it easier for your parents to accomplish tasks, listen to music, start the air conditioner, and more without leaving their chair.
  • Touchscreen appliances are better than manual options. There are adjustable refrigerators, touch-activated ovens, and other gadgets that don’t require too much muscle.

If your parents don’t want to deal with modern tech, find appliances that don’t require a lot of force and have dials or knobs that are easy to read and understand.

digital ovens
Digital Appliances

Install Weather Stripping on All Windows and Doors

Aging Care explains that windows and doors should extend to all edges without a gap. The Bay Area weather patterns can be brutal for the elderly, especially to those who are sensitive to low temperatures. The weatherstripping will cut back on the breeze coming through the cracks.

Weatherstripping is a simple installation, but you should leave it to the pros if you don’t know how to get it done. While you’re at it, add double-pane windows for more installation. These minor home additions will change everything for your parents’ morning routine. They’ll be warm, regardless of the weather.


Add Extra Insulation in the Walls and Attic

As mentioned above, the mornings and nights of the Bay can be frigid. If you don’t want your aging parents to feel cold, then adding insulation is a must. Get a quote and an inspection to figure out where it’s needed.

The Bay Area is filled with old homes since it’s been a hotspot for decades. Even if they have insulation, a lot of it may be worn out. You might need to remove the old insulation and add batts and spray foam around the edges. Don’t forget to cover the attic since it allows many temperature adjustments during all times of the year.


Change the Light Fixtures

Whether you’re changing the light bulbs around the home to be a bit brighter or removing the old ceiling fans and replacing them with new ones, the lighting situation needs an upgrade. Illuminating the stairs is a great place to start. Put floor lamps in the walls about four inches (10 cm) from the stairs to keep them bright throughout the night.

Remember that places like the kitchen and bathroom usually have soft lights. According to Hippo, a lot of homes are made with lights geared toward young families. The average house is made for people in their 30s since they’ll be in it for a while. However, as they get older, they need better lights to see everything clearly.

Glass Cabinets

Remove the Cabinets and Make Them See-Through

Old cabinets are creaky, tough to open, and all-around unsightly. They’re a burden for anyone living in an aging home, especially for senior citizens. Consider removing the doors and adding glass/plastic see-through windows. Some people prefer to permanently leave the doors off, but it’s not always the most appealing appearance.

You can add assistive hinges on the new cabinets that allow your parents to open them with ease. There’s no need for old metal hinges that rust and corrode over the years. Instead, they can push the clip on the door to swing it open. These minor renovations will make their daily lives much more comfortable.


Remember That Side-Swing Ovens Are Better for Aging Parents

We’ve all used ovens that open downward enough to know that they require a lot of bending. As people get older, their spines can’t handle the constant stress, which is why a side-swing oven is so useful. Rather than bending their back or knees, your parents will be able to open the oven door with ease.

Getting a side-swing oven in The Bay Area costs around $1800 to $3,000+ without the installation cost. Prices vary, so call a few installers to get free quotes. Never take a bid from a company that’s not willing to do a free quote on such a simple yet effective home addition.


Insulate the Water Pipes and Clear the Air Vents

Thankfully, The Bay Area never gets below freezing most years. The coastal breeze is to thank, but that doesn’t mean that the water supply stays warm. Unfortunately, frozen pipes cause ice-cold water to come through, so wrap them with insulation. If you can access the pipes, you can use spray foam wrapping foam insulation tubes to get the job done.

The air vents can hold all sorts of debris that blocks heating and cold air from going through the home. Clear them out regularly to prevent this issue from happening. Furthermore, inspect them for cracks and have any errors repaired by a professional. You could also consider installing brand-new vents and water pipes to reduce copper in the water and rust in the air.


Install a Grab Bar Outside of the Bath/Shower

Grab bars are one of the leading senior citizen additions to peoples’ homes that comes to mind. If you’re trying to renovate their house and safety-proof it for times that they’re alone, then add a bar outside of the shower or bath in every bathroom. It’s not too expensive, and you can get it done without a team of experts.

Here’s how to install the grab bar:

  1. Measure the width of the bar against the wall.
  2. Mark the areas that line up with the screw holes on the grab bar.
  3. Use a drill bit that’s slightly smaller than the screws to create pilot holes.
  4. Mount the bar to the wall by drilling the screws through the holes.
  5. Add screw glue to the screws before they’re completely sealed.

That’s all you have to do for this simple home renovation!


Convert From Gas to Electric

Modern safety measures make electric appliances some of the most effective, senior-proof home renovations. The stove should be changed to electric to prevent gas leaks, as should the fireplace.

The Bay Area’s homes are older homes than in other parts of California. Gas pipes have small leaks that can prove dangerous if not detected quickly. Inspect the pipes and have them repaired or replaced for anything that stays gas-powered.


Install Steps in the Garage (if Needed)

Some garages, especially those out on the rolling hills of San Francisco and the outskirts of Oakland, have a steep drop from the garage door to the floor. It’s usually about four to eight inches (10 to 20 cm) or more, which can be hazardous for senior citizens with poor eyesight. Add a step or two to reduce the chance of falling.

Another excellent addition would be a rail. Add the grab bar on the side of the door to help them get down into or out of the garage. You could also add an epoxy coating on the floor to keep it warmer and cover the cracks.

High Seat Toilets
High Seat Toilets

Replace the Old Toilet With a High-Seated Model

A high-seated toilet can be a life-saver. Maybe not literally, but a toilet with a high seat can prevent back pain and knee cramps. If your parents have joint aches, then a high-seated toilet can keep them comfortable. Take it a step further by getting a heated seat to prevent cold aches.

The good news about getting a new high-seated toilet is that you don’t have to change the plumbing. Most models are made to accommodate old school pipes. All you have to do is turn off the water supply, remove the toilet, and install the new one. It a fairly easy process that most plumbers or skilled DIY people can handle.


Lower the Cabinets, Counters, and Drawers

Much like the low-sitting toilet and oven from previous examples, high cabinets, counters, and drawers can be a pain (literally). You don’t want your parents experiencing shoulder discomfort just because they want to grab a mug or bowl.

There are two options for adjusting the cabinet height:

  • Bring the existing cabinets lower to make them more accessible.
  • Get brand-new extended cabinets that reach from the ceiling to their arm height.

Dropping the counters and drawers is a bit trickier. You’ll need to hire a professional to come out and give you a quote. The counters, drawers, and sinks throughout the home should be flush with your parents’ forearms when they’re at a 90-degree angle. In other words, they need to be able to rest their arms comfortably without bending or stretching.


Repair Any Floor Cracks

Small cracks can cause big problems. Fill them or replace the floors with new carpet. Tile, wood, brick, and many other materials can warp due to The Bay Area’s humidity and ranging temperature. It’s not uncommon for hardwood floors to look different in as little as five years if they’re not high-quality.

Don’t forget to inspect the walls and ceilings, too. A crack can cause structural damage, leading to expensive repairs. Fix the problems while they’re new rather than waiting too long and causing a costly issue. Sometimes, all you have to do is patch a wall to prevent a disaster. Remember to purchase paint and materials that match the building’s color code.

large walkway renovation Mountain View
Wide Walkways

Widen All Walkways

If you’re able to get bigger doors and broader walkways, do it! They’ll allow your parents to use walkers, wheelchairs, and rails without feeling cramped. Furthermore, they’ll add a spacious feeling. Always verify your renovations with local building codes to prevent legal challenges.

The essential walkways to widen are the bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms. A wide doorway requires a bigger door. Make sure that the door is hollow to reduce the weight. All exit doors should be insulated with a solid core, though. They prevent fire hazards and abide by construction codes throughout the Bay Area.



There are many options to keep your aging parents safe. If they want to stay in The Bay Area, then there’s no reason that they can’t keep enjoying it. Fair weather and lively activities make it an excellent location for people of all ages.

If you live in The Bay Area and have questions about making senior specific home remodeling improvements, you can contact us here to schedule a free consultation.

Element Home Remodeling
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