While my mother in law no longer lives on her own (at the age of 107 this is understandable), she was able to stay in her home and live independently for longer as a result of some of the home improvements listed below–and particularly due to living in a one level home.
If you’re looking to buy a new home and hope to stay there for the rest of your life, look ahead to what you might want as you age. We believe that adding features that make a house more accessible when you purchase is much easier than having to make modifications later.
Here are five home features to look for in a “forever home” that can make age-related limitations easier to deal with:
A no-step entry that can accommodate a wheelchair is preferable – and is the first thing to look for in a home that you may want to spend retirement in. The entryway should be wide and deep enough for a wheelchair to easily turn around, ideally 36 inches wide or more. It’s also a good idea to look for a home without stairs. A one-story home can help with knee or other health issues that make walking difficult. If your home has a second floor, you may one day need to install a chairlift.
Accessible Bedroom and Bathroom
Most homes have one-floor living spaces, meaning that even if your home has a second story, you can convert a first-floor living or dining room into a bedroom. Look for a home that has a first-floor bedroom with an attached bathroom, preferably both of which are wheelchair accessible.
Falls in the bathroom are a major cause of injuries for older people. Make sure the bathroom, bath, and shower have grab bars to help avoid accidents. These don’t have to be the huge grab bars you see in nursing homes–towel racks or other functional bars that are properly anchored will work.
Kitchen You Can Still Cook In
If you plan on cooking later in life, look for a kitchen that’s easy to get around in, with storage space that is easily reachable. Counters, storage areas, drawers, and dishwashers should be at heights that you can access comfortably without having to bend over.
A home equipped with the latest technology can allow homeowners to do things from their couches that used to require getting up. With a smartphone or tablet, you can adjust the thermostat, close the blinds, turn off the lights, and lock the doors without having to move more than a finger.
If you’re looking for a home that you can spend the rest of your life in, please give Lise a call at 240-401-5577 for expert home buying advice!