Today’s older population has two bits of good news. First, people are living longer, healthier lives. Folks just get more time to do the things they love to do nowadays. And second, the market for accessibility products has exploded. It is easier than ever before to make a home safe for aging in place. So, not only will you live longer, but you’re also able to live at home longer.
If you’re interested in a home that will allow you to age in place, look for the following features:
Stairs mean trouble for older adults. As eyesight fades, muscles weaken, and balance declines, stairs become more and more dangerous. All it takes is one missed step to find yourself or a loved one with a broken hip. The best homes for seniors are flat; no entry steps, no garage steps, and no interior steps. If you can’t find a one-story home, look for one that has all the necessities on the main level, including the master bedroom, kitchen, and laundry room.
Lighting isn’t all about ambiance; it’s also about safety. As you grow older, you’ll appreciate plentiful lighting throughout your home, especially in long hallways and on stairs.
Wide Doors and Hallways
There may come a day when you need the assistance of a mobility device in your home. When that day arrives, you’ll be grateful for wide passages that are able to comfortably accommodate wheelchairs and scooters. While you can add wheelchair ramps for stairs and improve your lighting, it’s very difficult to overcome the challenge of narrow doors and halls.
Room for Improvement
Unless the home you’re looking at has already been modified for aging in place, the chances are good that you’ll need to make modifications as your abilities evolve. For example:
- Look for a master bathroom that’s big enough to fit a large curbless shower or a step-in tub.
- If the house has multiple levels, take a moment to consider if the space could accommodate a residential elevator, a vertical platform lift, or ramps.
If you are interested, you can do some research on universal design elements that make homes fully accessible. With a bit of digging, you can get determined if the home you’re interested in can be modified to meet changing needs.
It may be that you’re already experiencing some of the challenges of aging. If so, eliminate barriers to independence at home by installing mobility assistance devices such as stairlifts, wheelchair ramps, or elevators. These tools are less expensive than you think, especially when compared with the potential costs of assisted living or lost independence.
The Bottom Line
Aging in place is possible if you shop for a home that includes features that focus on accessibility and safety for all.