There are many low-cost things that can be done to help seniors live independently their homes for longer periods of time.
Some tips, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and AARP:
—Wear nonslip shoes, not slippers, in the house.
—Avoid area rugs or use double-sided tape to hold them in place.
—If you must climb, use a sturdy step stool with a hand rail, not a chair.
—Place everyday items in easy-to-reach places, including cooking items.
—Sit to cook if possible. Keep the microwave low enough to reach.
—Use a raised toilet seat, which can add 2 inches to 5 inches without replacing the toilet.
—Place nonskid safety strips in the tub, and use a tub bench or shower chair.
—Install grab bars in the bathroom or, if that's not possible, a safety rail can be clamped onto the side of the tub.
—Railings on both sides make stairs easier.
—Look for tools such as a button hook/zip pull or a "reacher" that grabs hard-to-reach items.
—Carry a portable or cellphone around the house in case of a fall or other emergency.
—Consider a home assessment from an occupational therapist, who can tailor suggestions to your functional ability.
—When remodeling, AARP suggests consulting a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, a program of the National Association of Home Builders that designates contractors, remodelers and others who are trained in modifying homes for the elderly.
Capable project: http://nursing.jhu.edu/faculty_research/research/projects/capable