Not surprisingly, most Americans are better prepared for their death than becoming disabled. The most obvious reason for this is that mortality is inescapable. However, every year 375,000 Americans become disabled, and many of them are no longer able to work. Becoming disabled is an adjustment not only for the patient, but for the entire family. In instances where mobility is severely impaired, it often means making modifications to their home. While it is possible to make an existing home accessible, another option is to build an accessible home from scratch.

    Remodeling an Existing Home

    For those who need a wheelchair, one of the most important adaptations to make to an existing home is adding a ramp. The cost of adding this ramp varies widely, depending on the type of material used. Some of the most common materials include concrete, wood, aluminum, and steel. On average, it costs about $1,810 to add a wheelchair ramp to a home. If there are stairs inside the home, a stair lift might be necessary. The cost for a stairlift usually runs anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.

    Another room that will need to be remodeled is the bathroom. To make the bathroom accessible, homeowners can expect to pay up to $20,000. This price covers the cost of building a walk-in shower, lowering the sink, and ensuring the medicine cabinet is reachable. For added bathroom safety, it’s a good idea to install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet.

    Other costs associated with making the home accessible include $15,000 to lower the kitchen cabinets, $700 to widen each door, and up to $1,000 to level the yard. Remodeling the bedroom is also another major expense. Building an accessible closet can cost nearly $2,000.

    Homeowners will need to decide which remodeling projects are an absolute must and which ones they can do without. For some, they may end up moving to another type of accessible dwelling, such as an apartment, or build a new home.

    Building a New Home

    There are many benefits to building an accessible home. Homeowners will be able to choose the best floor plan, custom design their master bedroom and bathroom, select a flooring option that works well for wheelchairs, and decide whether or not to include an accessible patio or deck.

    Some homeowners choose to build a single-story home so that no steps are necessary, while others opt for having an elevator in a multi-level home. No matter what options they choose, homeowners can expect to pay at least $400,000 for a newly constructed accessible home.