Aging in Place: What To Look For in a Senior-Friendly Home
Thursday Mar 18th, 2021
With the rising cost of senior care, the ongoing pandemic and a growing number of energetic Baby Boomers wanting to maintain their active lifestyles, more older adults are deciding to age in place. If you can relate, consider adding these 12 must-haves to your home buying wish list to help you find the perfect home to live independently for as long as possible.
1. Covered zero-clearance entryway
As we age, it’s not uncommon to require the use of a mobility aid to get around more safely and independently. When looking for a home to age in place, look for one with a well-lit, step-free entryway to allow access for wheelchairs or walkers. A covered entryway is also beneficial because it provides shelter from the elements when coming and going from the home.
2. Single-storey layout
When choosing a home to age in place, look for a single-storey layout without any stairs to avoid having to add a stairlift or costly elevator down the road.
3. Non-slip flooring
The floors of a home create hidden hazards that can be life-threatening to seniors. Surfaces, like tile, area rugs, stone and concrete, can be slippery and make it difficult to maneuver around in mobility aids. Instead, look for a home with wood, vinyl, linoleum, cork or even rubber flooring. These materials are easier on joints and offer more shock absorption in the case of a fall.
4. Adequate Lighting
Well-lit spaces are essential to any home, but especially for seniors. Be sure that all rooms offer ample lighting and that the most-used areas of the home are fully illuminated, such as the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms. If possible, look for a home with motion-sensitive lighting to switch on and off when entering and exiting a room.
5. Ample clearance
Tight, cramped spaces are what you want to avoid when buying a home to age in place. Instead, look for a layout that provides plenty of clearance in hallways, doorways and rooms to accommodate a wheelchair or walker.
6. Table-height kitchen seating
Islands are a popular choice in kitchens these days, but this type of raised seating can be difficult for seniors. Instead, look for a home with table-height kitchen seating, which is easier and safer to use. This type of seating arrangement also provides more knee clearance and can accommodate someone in a wheelchair.
7. Cabinet drawers and pullouts
To promote safety and independence in the kitchen, look for plenty of draws and pullouts. These types of cabinet features make it easier to access items, promote maneuverability and reduce the need for reaching.
8. Lever door handles, faucets and light switches
In general, lever-style door handles, faucets and light switches are easier for seniors to grab than knobs. If a home is missing this feature, it’s a quick fix that promotes aging in place.
9. Wide cabinet pulls
Similarly, smaller knobs are harder to grab than wide cabinet drawer and door pulls. Again, if a home doesn’t have this type of pull already installed, it’s an easy change with a big impact.
10. No-step shower threshold
Unlike a bathtub or a shower with a threshold that must be stepped over, a curbless shower is much easier and safer to use, plus it can accommodate a wheelchair or walker if needed. Look for grab bars in the shower area and bathroom, as well, to promote safety and independence.
11. Convenient laundry
Look for a laundry room located on the main level of a home instead of in the basement. Proximity to the bedroom or bathroom is desirable too.
12. Accessible outdoor space
Part of the draw of aging in place is being able to enjoy all the comforts of home, including the outdoors. Look for a home with an easily accessible outdoor area with no stairs, large steps or difficult obstacles, like thresholds.
Your Mississauga Accredited Senior Agent
If you’re a senior wanting to stay in your current house or find a new home to age in place, an Accredited Senior Agent is a great resource to tap into. We are specially trained in understanding the needs of mature buyers and sellers and have a network of transition experts to help you make the right move.
To learn more, contact Deborah Clerk, Real Estate Sales Representative and Accredited Senior Agent (ASA) at Keller Williams Real Estate Associates, Brokerage, in Mississauga, Ontario, to discuss your options