Finding a Home Perfect for Aging in Place

Finding a Home Perfect for Aging in PlaceAging in place is a common goal among some of our buyers, especially those looking to buy a home after raising their family or reaching retirement. If you are hoping to find a home for your golden years, here are some things you might want to know about aging in place. 

What is aging in place?

Aging in place refers to the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. As people grow older, many prefer to stay in their familiar surroundings rather than move to an assisted living facility or nursing home. This concept emphasizes maintaining a high quality of life and independence in the comfort of one’s own home.

Dave Van Nuys of We Know Portland Real Estate has seen an increase in demand for homes for aging in place. He says, "Aging in place has become increasingly popular because it allows seniors to maintain their independence and comfort in a familiar environment, while also providing cost-effective solutions compared to traditional assisted living. With advancements in home technology and accessibility features, more people are finding it easier and more desirable to stay in their own homes as they age."

What are the benefits of aging in place?

One of the most significant benefits of aging in place is the emotional and psychological comfort it provides. Remaining in a familiar environment can help reduce stress and anxiety associated with moving to a new place. Familiar surroundings, neighbors, and community activities contribute to a sense of stability and continuity, and can significantly boost your quality of life in your golden years. 

Aging in place also allows you to retain a greater level of independence. Being in control of your daily routine, making decisions about meals, activities, and social engagements, and managing your own home can foster a sense of empowerment and autonomy, and help you avoid the depressed feeling that is common in later years of life.

Staying at home can often be more cost-effective than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility, as well. While some modifications to the home may be necessary to accommodate aging needs, these costs are generally lower than the ongoing fees associated with residential care facilities. This is even more true if you buy a home that is already conducive to aging in place and don't have to deal with renovation costs.

What should I look for in a home for aging in place?

As you explore listings and decide what you are looking for in a home, keep these key factors in mind. They can make aging in place accessible for you, whether you find a home that checks all these boxes or one that can be renovated to accommodate your goals.

Choosing or modifying a home to facilitate aging in place requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure safety, comfort, and accessibility. Here are key features to look for:

1. Single-Level Living

A home with a single-story layout eliminates the need for stairs, reducing the risk of falls and making it easier to navigate for those with mobility issues. If a multi-level home is necessary, ensure that essential living spaces, including a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, are accessible on the main floor.

You may also want to find a home that has space for a caregiver to stay overnight, ideally on the same floor as the primary bedroom. 

2. Wide Doorways and Hallways

Wide doorways and hallways are crucial for wheelchair accessibility and ease of movement. The recommended width for doorways is at least 32 inches, while hallways should be at least 36 inches wide to accommodate mobility devices comfortably.

3. Accessible Bathroom Features

Bathrooms should be equipped with features that enhance safety and accessibility, such as:

  • Walk-In Showers: Curbless or low-threshold showers reduce the risk of tripping and make entry easier.
  • Grab Bars: Strategically placed grab bars near toilets and in showers provide stability and support.
  • Raised Toilets: Higher toilet seats can make sitting down and standing up easier for individuals with limited mobility.

4. Functional and Safe Kitchen Design

Kitchens should be designed to accommodate aging needs, with features such as:

  • Lower Countertops and Cabinets: Ensuring that countertops and cabinets are at accessible heights can make meal preparation easier.
  • Pull-Out Shelves and Drawers: These features make it easier to reach items without excessive bending or stretching.
  • Lever-Style Faucets: Lever handles are easier to operate than traditional knobs, especially for individuals with arthritis or limited hand strength.

5. Non-Slip Flooring

Installing non-slip flooring throughout the home can significantly reduce the risk of falls. Materials such as cork, rubber, or textured vinyl provide good traction, while area rugs should be secured to prevent slipping.

6. Adequate Lighting

Proper lighting is essential for safety and comfort. Ensure that the home has:

  • Bright, Even Lighting: Well-lit spaces reduce the risk of accidents and improve visibility.
  • Motion Sensor Lights: These lights can automatically illuminate hallways, bathrooms, and other frequently used areas, reducing the need to fumble for switches in the dark.
  • Task Lighting: Additional lighting in areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, and reading areas can improve functionality.

7. Accessible Entryways

Entryways should be designed to facilitate easy access:

  • No-Step Entries: A no-step or ramped entry eliminates the need to navigate stairs, making it easier for individuals with mobility aids.
  • Covered Entryways: A covered porch or entryway provides protection from the elements and reduces the risk of slipping on wet surfaces.
  • Secure Handrails: Handrails on both sides of stairs and ramps provide additional support and stability.

8. Smart Home Technology

Integrating smart home technology can enhance safety and convenience:

  • Voice-Activated Assistants: Devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home can control lights, thermostats, and security systems, providing hands-free convenience.
  • Medical Alert Systems: Wearable devices or home-based systems that can alert emergency services if needed.
  • Smart Locks and Doorbells: These devices allow for secure and convenient entry and monitoring of visitors.

Ready to find the right home for you in Southern California? We will be with you every step of the way, lending our years of expertise to the process. Contact us any time to get started.

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