Home Exterior Upgrades to Promote Safer Aging in Place for Mississauga Seniors
Friday Nov 17th, 2023
When thinking of aging in place or creating a home with a universal design, not enough consideration is put into a home's exterior. As we grow older, our ability to maintain areas can become more difficult, plus there are safety concerns that can make it harder to navigate the outdoors. That's why putting extra thought into a home's exterior is critical when designing a plan to age in place.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Getting in and out of a home can present many challenges if preparations aren't made to the entrances and exits of a home. To allow for easier access, doorways should be at least 91.44 mm (36 inches) wide to provide better clearance, and a low- or no-lip threshold should be installed if a person's range of motion is limited. Overhangs and canopies are also a good idea to provide shade and to act as a barrier from lousy weather when entering and exiting the home.
For aging homeowners, climbing stairs can be more difficult and making access for a wheelchair or a walker may be needed to promote greater freedom of mobility. When remodelling a home to age in place, consider providing space for a wheelchair ramp near an entrance to the house in case it's needed.
As per Ontario's Building Code, a handrail is required for stairs with more than three risers, and two bars should be installed when the risers are 1,100 mm (43.31 inches) in width or more. However, extra handrails are extremely valuable when designing a home to age in place since they provide greater stability and can prevent falls.
Stamped concrete and exterior tile can be slippery when wet and pose a significant safety risk to aging homeowners. Sidewalks and cracked surfaces can also be a tripping hazard and are not recommended. Instead, textured surfaces provide better grip and traction, proving helpful in preventing slips, trips and falls. You also want to ensure that any paths or ramps are at least 91.44 mm (36 inches) wide to make it easier for people with mobility aids to get by.
Proper exterior lighting illuminates walkways, assists with identifying obstacles and reduces the risk of trips or falls. That's why it's essential to have adequate lighting by the main entrances/exits of a home and along any walkways. Automatic lighting works best since it turns on and off independently.
As we age, conditions like arthritis become more common and cause inflammation and pain. This can make twisting and turning doorknobs very difficult, so lever door handles are recommended for interior and exterior doors. A lever requires much less effort and strength to open a door. They can also be paired with keyless locking systems for added convenience.
Low maintenance elements, like vinyl siding and windows, and a quality roof will reduce the amount of exterior work required on a home. The same is true about low-maintenance landscaping, which reduces the amount of attention a homeowner has to pay to their outdoor spaces and is more cost-effective to have a landscaping company maintain.
How a Lifestyle55+ Affiliate Can Help
For many people, aging in place is a preferred lifestyle because it allows them to live in their home of choice for as long as they can while getting assistance as their needs change. If you desire to create a safe and well-equipped home to allow you to age in place, a Lifestyle55+ Affiliate can walk you through the process so you can go about your choice with confidence.
To learn more, please get in touch with me, Deborah Clerk, Real Estate Sales Representative and Lifestyle55+ Affiliate at Keller Williams Realty Associates, Brokerage, in Mississauga, Ontario, to chat about your options.