Remodeling your Hillsboro Oregon Home for Disabilities or Aging in Place

October 22, 2023

Living with disabilities in the United States

1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has a type of disability that impacts their major life activities, according to the CDC. If that statistic feels close to home, it’s because it is.

Whether you’re living in prohibitively expensive real estate in New York City, or in the Sequoia Village or Rosedale Parks neighborhoods of Hillsboro, Oregon, the need for accessible living spaces remains urgent.

As you or your loved ones age or navigate life with disabilities, the comforting surroundings of home become even more significant. The appeal of familiar corners, the memories that echo in every room, and the sheer independence of living on one’s terms are irreplaceable.

But, as time goes on, challenges arise. Stairs become daunting, doorways seem narrower, and the bathroom feels like an obstacle course. This is where the need for home remodeling in Hillsboro comes into play.

For the seniors who dream of aging gracefully in their cherished homes and for those with disabilities yearning for a barrier-free living, remodeling isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about reclaiming independence and ensuring safety. Why move to an assistive care facility when your very own home can be molded to fit your needs?

Reasons for Home Modifications

The drive to modify one’s home often stems from a variety of personal and practical reasons. Delving into the research provides a clearer picture of these driving forces.

Aging Gracefully

The golden years come with a myriad of experiences – wisdom, memories, and unfortunately, physical challenges. As the natural aging process unfolds, mobility can become restricted. Simple tasks like climbing stairs or reaching for a high shelf in the kitchen can become daunting feats. This isn’t just an isolated incident; it’s a universal aspect of aging that many Hillsboro residents face. The desire to remain independent, to continue living in a home filled with memories, drives the need for these modifications. After all, the home is not just a building; it’s a repository of life’s moments.

Unexpected Twists and Turns

Life is unpredictable. An unexpected accident or a sudden health diagnosis can change one’s mobility and lifestyle needs overnight. According to the research, a significant percentage of Hillsboro residents have had their lives altered due to unforeseen events leading to disabilities [source]. These events underscore the importance of having a living space that can adapt and accommodate, ensuring that every individual can live with dignity and independence regardless of their physical condition.

Independence and Quality of Life

Beyond the physical needs, there’s a profound psychological aspect to home modifications. Research indicates that individuals who live in homes tailored to their needs have a higher quality of life [source]. The freedom to move around without hindrance, the security of a safe environment, and the sheer joy of self-reliance are immeasurable. For many in Hillsboro, remodeling is not just about physical comfort; it’s about mental and emotional well-being.

Key Home Modifications to Consider

When it comes to home modifications, a one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t cut it. Each individual’s needs are unique, and thus the changes required can vary widely. However, based on our experience, there are some common modifications that have proven beneficial for a majority of Hillsboro residents.

Ramps and Accessible Entrances

The front door is the gateway to your sanctuary. But for those with mobility challenges, even a single step can be a barrier. Installing ramps, especially at primary entrances, ensures that the home remains accessible. These ramps can be tailored to fit the aesthetics of the home while serving a crucial functional purpose.

accessible shower
Grab rails provide added safety when showering.


Bathroom Modifications

The bathroom is often cited as the most challenging space for those with disabilities or mobility issues. Slippery floors, high bathtubs, and inaccessible fixtures can make it a hazard. Thankfully, with modifications such as grab bars, walk-in tubs, and shower benches, the bathroom can be transformed into a safe and comfortable space.

Kitchen Adjustments

For many, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where meals are prepared, families gather, and memories are made. Modifications like lowered countertops and pull-out shelves can make a world of difference. These changes ensure that all appliances and utensils are within easy reach, making the cooking process enjoyable and safe.

accessibility stair lift
A stair lift can allow seniors or disabled persons to continue to enjoy their home, both downstairs and upstairs.


Stairlifts or Elevators

Multi-story homes can pose a challenge, especially for those who find stairs daunting. Stairlifts offer a practical solution, allowing residents to move between floors effortlessly. For those seeking a more permanent solution, home elevators, while a significant investment, can be a game-changer.

Widened Doorways

For individuals using wheelchairs or walkers, standard doorways can be restrictive. Widening these doorways ensures free movement throughout the home, eliminating potential bottlenecks and ensuring every room is accessible.

Financial Assistance for Home Modifications in Hillsboro

Modifying a home to be more accessible can sometimes be a significant investment. However, Hillsboro residents should be aware that there are several financial assistance programs and resources available to help offset these costs. Ensuring that every home is accessible and safe shouldn’t be a privilege but a right, and these programs aim to make that vision a reality.

Local Grants and Programs

Hillsboro Home Improvement Grants offered by the local government may cover a portion of the remodeling costs for eligible homeowners.

State of Oregon 

Oregon has several programs that assist elderly and disabled individuals in making home modifications to ensure their homes are safe and accessible. One of the well-known programs is the Oregon Home Modification Program, which is specifically designed to help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes by providing financial assistance for necessary home modifications.

Oregon Home Modification Program

Key features and components of the Oregon Home Modification Program:

Eligibility: Typically, to be eligible for the program, an individual must be an Oregon resident, have a documented disability or health condition that requires home modifications, and meet certain income requirements.

Types of Modifications: The program can cover a range of modifications, including:

    • Installation of grab bars and handrails
    • Ramps for wheelchair or scooter access
    • Bathroom modifications like walk-in tubs or roll-in showers
    • Widening of doorways for wheelchair access
    • Stairlifts or platform lifts
    • Other modifications that might be deemed necessary for the individual’s safety and accessibility.

Funding: The program provides grants, low-interest loans, or a combination of both, depending on the individual’s financial situation and the cost of the modifications. The exact amount of funding and the terms can vary.

Application Process: Interested individuals usually need to complete an application, provide documentation of their disability or health condition, and obtain quotes from contractors for the proposed modifications. There might be a waiting list, given that funding is often limited.

Contractors: The program may have a list of approved contractors who are familiar with the specific needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities. Using an approved contractor might be a requirement or could expedite the approval process.

Program Goals: The overarching goal of the program is to allow seniors and individuals with disabilities to age in place, remaining in their homes and communities, by making their living environments safer and more accessible.

Specific details, eligibility criteria, and funding amounts can change over time. If you or someone you know is interested in the program, please reach out to Oregon’s Department of Human Services to find out about any changes.

Northwest Access Fund – Home Modification Loan Program

The Northwest Access Fund (formerly known as the Washington Access Fund) is a nonprofit organization serving residents of Washington and Oregon. They provide financial solutions, resources, and advocacy for people with disabilities. One of their offerings is the Home Modification Loan program, which aims to help individuals with disabilities and their families make their homes more accessible.

Here are some key features and components of the Northwest Access Fund’s Home Modification Loan program:


The loan program is designed to assist individuals in financing home modifications that will improve accessibility and safety, allowing them to live more independently.


To be eligible, applicants typically must:

    • Be a resident of Washington or Oregon.
    • Have a disability or live with someone who has a disability.
    • Demonstrate the need for home modifications due to the disability.

Types of Modifications

The loan can cover a wide range of modifications, including:

    • Ramps, lifts, and railings.
    • Bathroom modifications, such as roll-in showers or grab bars.
    • Kitchen modifications.
    • Door widening or other modifications to improve mobility.
    • Specialized accessibility equipment or technology.

Loan Terms

    • The Northwest Access Fund typically offers low-interest loans.
    • The exact loan amount, interest rate, and repayment terms can vary based on the individual’s financial situation and the cost of the modifications.
    • Loans may have flexible terms, recognizing the financial challenges that individuals with disabilities often face.

Application Process

Interested individuals need to complete an application, provide documentation of the disability, and submit estimates or quotes for the proposed modifications. The Northwest Access Fund will then review the application and make a decision based on the individual’s needs and financial situation.

Financial Education

In addition to providing loans, the Northwest Access Fund often offers financial education and resources to help individuals manage their finances and understand the responsibilities associated with taking out a loan.

Advocacy and Support

The Northwest Access Fund doesn’t just offer financial solutions. They also provide resources, support, and advocacy to promote accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities in the broader community.

Please bear in mind that specific details, eligibility criteria, and loan terms might change over time. If you’re interested in the Northwest Access Fund’s Home Modification Loan program, please contact Northwest Access Fund to verify their most recent information.

Medicare and Home Modifications

Medicare primarily focuses on medical services and supplies. Home modifications, such as ramps, widened doors, or stairlifts, are considered “home improvements” and are not covered under standard Medicare benefits.

Exceptions and Other Options

Medicare Advantage Plans: Some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans might offer limited coverage for home modifications as supplemental benefits. These benefits can vary widely between plans, so beneficiaries should check with their specific plan to see what’s covered.

Medicaid: While Medicare does not cover home modifications, Medicaid, a separate program, might. Medicaid offers Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers in many states. These waivers can sometimes help with home modifications to ensure that individuals can remain in their homes instead of moving to institutional settings. Eligibility and benefits vary by state.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME): While not a home modification, Medicare Part B might cover medically necessary equipment that aids mobility or function in the home, like hospital beds, wheelchairs, or patient lifts. However, this doesn’t extend to fixtures or structural changes in the home.

kitchen remodel
Kitchen remodel, starting from the floor up. Photo by Ksenia Chernaya


Steps to Begin Your Home Remodeling Journey

Embarking on a home remodeling project, especially one focused on accessibility and safety, can seem daunting. However, with a structured approach the process becomes more manageable and less overwhelming.

1. Assessing Your Needs

The first step in any home modification project is to understand what you truly need. Are the modifications for aging in place, or are they due to a disability? Engage with family members, caregivers, or even medical professionals to get a clear picture of what’s required now and what might be needed in the future.

2. Professional Consultations

Before making any decisions, it’s crucial to consult with professionals who specialize in home modifications. Occupational therapists, for instance, can offer insights into the specific changes that can benefit you the most.

3. Planning a Budget

Once you have a clear idea of the modifications required, it’s time to draft a budget. This should include not only the cost of modifications but also any potential financial assistance or grants that might be available, as mentioned in the previous section.

4. Choosing the Right Contractor

The success of your home modification project largely depends on the contractor you choose. It’s essential to select someone experienced in accessibility modifications. Hillsboro Remodel Experts is also available for consultation at no charge.

5. Seeking Financial Aid

As discussed earlier, there are several financial assistance programs available for Hillsboro residents. Once you have your budget in place, apply for the relevant grants or loans. Remember, every bit of financial assistance can help make the project more feasible.

6. Monitoring the Project

Once the project is underway, stay involved. Regularly check on the progress, ensure that the modifications align with your initial discussions, and address any concerns immediately. Open communication with your contractor is key to ensuring the project’s success.

The Transformative Benefits of Home Modifications

When discussing home modifications, it’s easy to focus solely on the physical changes—a ramp here, a widened doorway there. However, these changes offer so much more than mere physical alterations. The ripple effect of these modifications can have profound impacts on one’s quality of life and overall well-being.

Increased Safety and Reduced Risk

The most immediate and tangible benefit of home modifications is safety. With the right changes in place, the risk of falls, injuries, or accidents is significantly reduced. For example, the simple addition of grab bars in a bathroom can prevent a potentially life-altering accident.

Enhanced Independence

Independence is a treasure, especially as one ages or navigates life with a disability. Being able to move around one’s home without assistance, to carry out daily tasks without hindrance, is empowering. Home modifications can help to ensure that this independence is preserved.

Peace of Mind

Knowing that one’s home is safe provides a level of comfort and peace of mind that is invaluable. For both the individual and their loved ones, there’s an immeasurable relief in knowing that the environment is tailored to cater to their unique needs.

Improved Quality of Life

Beyond the physical and psychological benefits, home modifications can elevate one’s overall quality of life. Being in a space that’s both comfortable and functional means that more time can be spent enjoying life’s pleasures rather than navigating its challenges. Whether it’s cooking a favorite meal without struggle or having friends over without accessibility concerns, the benefits permeate every aspect of daily life.

Financial Savings in the Long Run

While there’s an initial investment involved in home modifications, the long-term financial benefits are notable. By making a home accessible, the need for assisted living facilities or frequent medical care due to home-related accidents can be reduced. Over time, these savings can be significant.


Remodeling your home in Hillsboro, Oregon, for disabilities or aging in place is a significant step towards ensuring a comfortable and independent life. By leveraging local resources, financial assistance, and the expertise of skilled contractors, you can transform your living space to meet your unique needs. Remember, it’s not just about physical modifications; it’s about creating a home where you can thrive for years to come.


Feature Image: Photo by Marcus Aurelius: