How Do You Update a Two-Story Home for Elderly Care?

Author: Jackie Smart

Reviewed By: Mela Furgerson

You update a two-story home for elderly care by making modifications, such as creating a first-floor bedroom, installing a stair lift and adding grab bars in bathrooms. According to the AARP, 77% of adults aged 50 and older wish to remain living in their own homes as they age. Many are aware that they will require some assistance from in-home care providers.

Overcoming Staircases

However, multi-floor homes present an additional challenge. Aging often leads to reduced mobility, and around 36 million falls occur among seniors each year. Two-story homes require modifications to improve safety and help reduce the risk of falls. Stairs pose a challenge for older adults with a disability or limited mobility caused by arthritis or an illness. Relocating primary living spaces such as a bedroom and bathroom to the first floor reduces the need for seniors to navigate the stairs.

If reconfiguring a property isn’t feasible, installing an electric stair lift makes accessing the second story easier. These motorized devices transport individuals safely between floors, allowing seniors to move confidently throughout their homes.

Bathroom Modifications

Bathrooms present a significant hazard to the elderly or disabled, with around 80% of falls occurring in the bathroom as a result of hard surfaces, slippery floors and limited space. In addition, one third of seniors report having difficulty getting in and out of a bathtub. Addressing these issues in a two-story home improve safety and allow seniors to continue with their daily routines. Modifications to consider include:

  • Non-slip flooring
  • Non-slip mats in the tub or shower
  • Grab bars around the shower, tub and toilet
  • A raised toilet
  • Walk-in bathtub or curbless shower
  • A shower seat

Improve Accessibility

Standard-sized doorways may be too narrow to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility aids, causing injury if someone bumps into a door frame or struggles to maneuver through tight spaces. Widening internal doorways, installing pocket doors or using offset hinges makes the entire home more accessible to adults with mobility issues. Offset hinges allow the door to open clear from the frame, widening the doorway by a few inches and providing the clearance necessary for a wheelchair.


Widening and modifying the entry point is an essential modification for an elderly resident. Ensure that at least one entryway offers step-free access to the property. Gentle sloping ramps, widened pathways, handrails and slip-resistant materials all help seniors using mobility devices access their homes safely and confidently.