If you’re looking to buy a new home and plan to age in place there, then check out these 6 tips. Getting these features that make a house more accessible now can be a lot easier and less expensive than having to make modifications later.

Fewer Steps to Age in Place

Few steps. A no-step entry 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, back or other health issues that make walking difficult.  Perhaps this is the time to look at a condo in a building with an elevator so that you can get around easily and age in place!

Keep It to One Level

Accessible bedroom and bathroom. If you can’t find a one level home, look for one with a first floor bedroom and a main level laundry. If all of the bedrooms are on the second floor in your new home or the laundry is in the basement, you may one day need to install an elevator or chairlift.  If you can’t find a home with a primary bedroom on the main level, look for a room on the first floor that you can covert into a bedroom with a full bath when you need it. Preferably both the bedroom and the bathroom will be wheelchair accessible.

Age in Place with no Slips!

Slip-proof bathroom. Falls in the bathroom are a major cause of injuries as you age in place. 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, but rather, towel racks or other functional bars that are properly anchored.  Ideally the flooring will also have some texture so that you don’t step out of the shower and slide across the room!

Evaluate the Kitchen for Your Future

Kitchen you can still cook in. Even if your favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations you should still look for a kitchen that’s easy to navigate in.  Counters, storage areas, drawers and dishwashers should be at heights that you can get to comfortably without bending over.  As you age in place, you may have limited mobility and you will want to be able to reach all parts of your kitchen!

High Tech Helps Age in Place

High tech. 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 if they’re all set up with the right technology.  If you are planning to age in place in your new home, these features will help if you become less mobile.

Is the Neighborhood Walkable?

As you age in place in your new home, you might want to add walking to your exercise regimen.  Are there places to walk to in your new neighborhood? Are there shops nearby? Are there parks or walking paths for you to enjoy?  Can you walk to the library or your doctor’s office.  You will love being able to leave your car in the driveway and walk to interesting places if you buy in the right neighborhood. You can check out a neighborhood’s walkability index here.

Call Lise Howe to Start Your Search

Now is a great time to start your search for your new home to age in place!  Call the Lise Howe Group to talk about your wants and needs.  We also can help you get your “old” home ready to market and then sell it for you on your time line!  We are licensed as associate brokers all around the DC metro area so whether you live in DC, MD, or VA, we can help. Call us at 240-401-5577 or email us at lise@lisehowe,com

If you are ready to start looking RIGHT NOW, here are some homes throughout the DC Metro area to check out – all with first floor bedrooms and baths!

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