Many older adults and people living with a disability wish to remain independent in their own homes as long as possible.

Making the right improvements can make it easier and safer to do just that, and may also increase the value of your home.

“The right improvements can make a house safer, and allow people to continue living an independent lifestyle” said Harry Burns, President of Home Evolutions, a building and remodeling company in Pittsburgh. “And done the right way, those improvements can add to the style, beauty, and comfort of your living space.”

Home improvement costs can compare favorably to the average financial impact of a fall in the home ($19,440), a year in assisted living ($35,628), or a year in nursing care ($86,830).

Improvements can also be an investment, said Burns, especially if they use Universal Design, a concept centering on making modifications that are accessible, beautiful, and usable by anyone who visits or buys your home. “Ideally, you want a design that allows anyone to approach, reach and access all parts of your home, regardless of body size, posture, or mobility.”

Houses incorporating Universal Design can become more valuable in the future as the population ages. “By the year 2035, the aging population in this region is expected to increase by almost 50 percent,” Burns said. “Houses that make independent living easier will likely be attractive to those older adults.”

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