What Type Of Home To Look For When Aging?

Find A House If You Plan To Age In Place?

  • Covered, zero-step entry. A well-lighted, step-free approach to the house is essential to allow access for wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Nonslip, comfort flooring. Wood, linoleum, cork or even rubber flooring (which is shown here) are good choices for hardworking rooms. .
  • Table-height kitchen seating. Traditional kitchen island seating can be too difficult to use as we age — and the fall from a higher seat is also more dangerous.
  • Drawers and pullouts. Being able to pull out shelves to reach exactly what you need is a huge help, so look for a kitchen with plenty of drawers and pullouts.
  • Ample clearance. Look for a home with plenty of clearance in halls and passages if you want to be able to accommodate a wheelchair or walker.
  • Elevator. A single-story home makes a great choice for aging in place, but if you do go for a multistory home, be sure it has a safe staircase with secure banisters and, ideally, an elevator as well.
  • No-threshold shower. A curbless shower (without a rim or step to get over) is easier and safer to use. Grab bars can always be added later, but if the basic design is accessible, you won’t have to do a major redesign down the road.
  • Main-floor powder room. If the home has more than one story, be sure there is at least a half bath on the main floor that doesn’t require climbing any stairs to reach. Some powder rooms can be quite tiny, so look for a powder room with enough clearance to easily maneuver a walker or wheelchair into the space.
  • Convenient laundry. Having the washer and dryer near the bedroom and main bathroom means less distance to carry the laundry basket. At the very least, look for laundry hookups on the main floor of the house, rather than in the basement or garage.
  • Accessible outdoor space. A home with an easily accessed, no-stairs-required outdoor space is a big plus. Look for a deck, patio or porch with direct access from the indoor living space. Even better? Large windows or French doors so you can enjoy the view even when you’re relaxing inside.
  • Convenient laundry. Having the washer and dryer near the bedroom and main bathroom means less distance to carry the laundry basket. At the very least, look for laundry hookups on the main floor of the house, rather than in the basement or garage.

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