Did you know that falls within the home account for more than half of all injuries among Canadians over the age of 65? And that one third of seniors living on their own experience at least one fall every year? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, $2 billion is spent annually on direct health care costs for seniors’ injuries, a staggering number when you consider that a portion of these injuries were preventable.

Tasks that you might have taken for granted when you were younger get increasingly difficult with age, like climbing your front steps during the winter months, showering and reaching high cupboards in your kitchen.

There is good news from the Ontario government. The Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit is a personal income tax credit for seniors over 65 to help them make safety and accessibility changes to their homes. This tax credit is also available to those who live with a senior family member and want to make their home safer and more comfortable.

If you qualify, you are eligible to claim up to $10,000 worth of home improvements on your tax return. The amount of money you get back for these expenses is calculated as 15 per cent of the eligible expenses you claim. So if you spend the full $10,000 in one calendar year, you will get $1,500 back.

Some examples of eligible work include non-slip bathroom flooring, installing a hand-held shower, easy-to-operate door locks and levered taps and door handles, and grab bars around toilets and tubs. More extensive renovations, such as those for wheelchair accessibility, are also included in the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit. Wheelchair ramps, wheel-in showers, widening of doorways and corridors, accessible light switches and lowering of counters and cupboards in kitchens and bathrooms are all included as eligible expenses.

With the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit, more seniors will be able to make the changes they need to stay in their homes longer and live safer and with more self-sufficiency. Families with a senior member will be able to make changes to make their lives easier and safer. It’s win-win!

To learn more about this new program, visit www.ontario.ca/taxes-and-benefits/healthy-homes-renovation-tax-credit.