“Aging in Place” Features to Think About When Buying, or Remodeling Your Retirement Home – by Robin Glasener
Aging, It’s something we all do; a common thread we share. Time stops for no one, and I, myself definitely have my trepidations about that! As we age, we must begin to plan for the lives we want our older selves to live, including the type of home and the community we want to spend our sunset years in. Aging in place is a term used to describe being able to live in the home of your choice, for as long as you are able, as you age, including having access to support and additional services in/from the community, you may need over time, as your needs change.
The goal of anyone desiring to age in place should be to maintain and/or improve their quality of life and there are several features to keep in mind when buying or remodeling the home in which you plan to age in place. Below, are just a few:
• Low maintenance exteriors, both in terms of the material the home is made from, and the maintenance of yards and landscaping.
• Barrier-free/no step entry ways, to safely enter and exit your home.
• Lever door and faucet handles. Arthritis can make it difficult to turn knobs.
• Slide out cabinet drawers for the lower cabinets, along with cabinet door & drawer pulls that are easy to grasp.
• Low pile height carpet and/or non-slip flooring, such as non-slip rated tile.
• Paddle-type, electrical wall switches are easy to use, without grasping and should be placed no higher than 48” above the floor, and wall plug-in receptacles should be at least 18” above the floor, to allow access from a wheelchair.
• “Comfort-Height” toilet. A comfort-height toilet stands at least 2” higher than the average toilet, making access on and off them, easier.
• Barrier-free shower with a fold-down seat, grab bars, and a flexible, hand-held shower head. A step-in bathtub can also serve the same purpose.
• 36” wide doorways and hallways to allow for wheelchair access.
• 5’ by 5’ clear/turn space in living area, kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom
• All living areas on the main level. If this is not an option, increased lighting, reinforced stair railings, and electrical switches at both ends of the stairs all help to make navigating a staircase safer. The installation of an electric stair lift is also widely beneficial.
• Proximity to transportation, shopping, dining, and community services and events
These are just a few features that, when included in any home, can help make it more functional for your golden years and generations to come!
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