A lot about life changes in your retirement years. Hopefully, you have more time to enjoy hobbies and being with friends and family. With those lifestyle changes, many seniors come to realize that their home no longer fits their needs. A big home can be more than you want to care for, and if you want to age in place, your home may not be as accessible as you’d like.
When you’re in this situation, the first thing to do is to consider all your options, including whether you should look into assisted living. This may not be the right choice for everyone, but the face of senior living has changed in a major way in recent years. Most importantly, assisted living is often the best choice if you or your senior loved one needs a little extra care with everyday living. An easy way to find a center that has what you’re looking for is to start your search online. Assisted living search tools and guides can help you see what type of centers are available where you live so you can get an idea of ones you may want to visit. Additionally, companies like A Place for Mom, which works with around 50 assisted living centers in Long Beach, provides advisors to help people find the perfect facility.
If you decide that assisted living isn’t what you need and choose to buy a new home, the most important thing is to find a home that will allow you to age in place safely and happily. This list is by no means exhaustive, but you can use it as a guide for starting your home search.
Finding a home with a step-free entry is ideal, but if you can’t, look for an exterior with a gentle slope so that a ramp could be installed if needed.
Covered entry with lighting
A covered porch keeps your entryway safe from the elements. You also want plenty of exterior lighting, especially at your home’s front entrance.
This is an ideal feature for both the interior and exterior so that it’s easier to move around, especially if you ever use a walker or wheelchair.
Low-maintenance exterior and landscaping
Some seniors prefer living in a condo or townhome so that they don’t have to worry about landscaping or exterior care of their homes at all. If you buy a single-family home, however, look for an exterior with brick, stone, or vinyl siding so that it’s easy to care for. And while we recommend the same easy-care feature when it comes to landscaping, that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself if you enjoy working in your yard. In fact, Next Avenue recommends thinking about your quality of life as much as you do safety, and a yard with planter boxes can be perfect for a gardening hobby and for meeting neighbors.
General safety and accessibility features
Along with wide doorways, a home that has wide hallways or an open floor plan will be easier to navigate. Some other features for ease of use include a one-level floor plan, accessible placement of outlets and switches, and lever-style door handles.
Because the risk of falls is one of the greatest safety concerns for seniors, features for fall prevention should be a high priority. Having a well-lit home is one of the best ways to prevent falls, so look for lots of natural light, plus plenty of light fixtures, especially in tricky spots.
For many seniors, bathroom accessibility and safety is one of their main concerns with aging in place. That’s why Architectural Digest recommends looking for a home that has a no-threshold shower. Look for other bathroom safety features too, such as grab bars and a wall-mount lavatory that’s easier to access than enclosed counters.
Of course, along with these suggestions, make sure to include any special features you need or want. What we need and want in a home certainly changes over the years. That’s why more seniors are choosing to look for a new home that suits where they are at this point in life, and that ultimately allows them to age in place safely.
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