Aging in place requires a lot of planning. If you’re living in your forever home and hoping to make it senior-friendly, we’ve got several garage upgrade ideas that can help you make your garage a better place to live. By decluttering, eliminating tripping hazards, improving visibility, and ensuring that your garage door is safe and easy to use, you can make your home’s garage more senior-friendly. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Get Organized, Remove Clutter
It’s common for homeowners to keep seasonal items like sweaters, holiday decorations, sentimental items, and more in their garage. Over time, the garage becomes a holding place for items that many homeowners no longer need.
Overstuffed garages are dangerous for older adults. Stacks of boxes can be unstable, while clutter can be a fire hazard. For an older adult who is unsteady on their feet, an overstuffed garage can be difficult to manage, hard to find things in, and difficult to use.
Declutter your garage. Start by sorting through boxes. Items that have not been used for two years or more are best donated or sold. If the item is sentimental, consider giving it away to a family member or friend.
If you must keep the item, find a good place to put it. Some homeowners have garage lofts where they keep boxes, suitcases, and more. Unfortunately, high-up storage areas may become difficult or impossible to use as you get older. Consider installing shelving that is nearer to the ground, where you can easily access those items you decide to keep in your garage.
2. Update Lighting
Many garages have poor lighting. Dim, overhead lighting can create safety hazards. Have a contractor or electrician install lighting that makes your garage interior easier to see at night and in low-light conditions. Your garage door opener too should have a light on it. If the lights don’t work, or if you don’t have an automatic garage door opener, have one installed.
3. Remove Tripping Hazards
Tripping hazards like cords and boxes set on the ground are especially hazardous for seniors. Clear all walkways and keep them clear through smart organization systems.
4. Replace That Old Garage Door and Opener
Older garage doors and garage door openers are less secure, often more difficult to use, and lack smart features. Replacing your old garage door is a great way to improve your home’s value and also make your home safer for you to use. Work with your garage door installer to decide which models are best for seniors. Look for:
- Belt drive for quiet opening and closing
- Wi-Fi connectivity so you can open and close your garage with the push of a button
- Bright overhead light for better visibility
- All the latest safety features to ensure your garage door is both secure and not a safety hazard