Seniors make up about 10 percent of the home buyers on the market. While this is a relatively small percentage, their specific housing needs can make finding a home difficult. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the things you’ll need in a home.
Senior Accessible Kitchen and Bathroom
When you’re looking for a home, the kitchen and bathroom are the places that are most important. According to Care.com, you should look for a kitchen that has a pull-out pantry and a shallow sink installed. The sink should be close to the stove, and all countertops must be rounded to prevent injury from sharp edges. Instead of doors, kitchen cabinets should have pull-out drawers and make use of corner spaces.
Where bathrooms are concerned, accessible showers are necessary if you use a wheelchair; otherwise, an accessible tub with grab bars may be all you need. The heights of the sink and toilet should be adjusted to accommodate someone who uses a wheelchair if necessary or, once again, grab bars should do the trick.
Senior Accessible Bedroom and Living Room
When it comes to the bedroom and living room, the number of modifications you need for optimum accessibility will depend on your mobility. Based on details from Aging In Place, having a bedroom on the main floor is ideal; without that option, accessibility to the bedroom must be established. If you use a walking aid, it might be best to have a stairlift. Windows should have secure locks and have fixtures that can be easily used if you have trouble gripping handles or have impaired vision. If you have trouble getting out of bed, then you’ll need pull-up bars or a bed with rails. In both the bedroom and living room, the furniture must be sturdy and not easily toppled. Cords and cables should be against the wall or covered so they are not a trip hazard.
Sound Flooring and Stairway Designs
As HomeAdvisor explains, in a senior accessible home, the flooring is just as important as the other modifications, as 60 percent of seniors experience falls at home. In this article by the Spruce, the pros and cons of different flooring options are explored; for example, linoleum flooring may be durable and easy to clean but it’s also cold and lacks cushioning. Vinyl is water-resistant and easy to clean, but it isn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing. If you use a wheelchair, you’ll want to stay away from carpeting as this is difficult for a wheelchair to navigate. The best flooring options for wheelchair users are usually made of hardwood or laminate materials. Ceramic tiles can also be used if they are of a particular size and have enough grout lines to improve traction. Stairway design specifications can be very detailed, but one of the things to look out for is a sturdy handrail. You should also avoid lengthy stairways that do no provide a rest stand in between or those that have less than six steps or more than 12.
Adequate Lighting and Entryways
Lighting is important because it ensures seniors can see well throughout the day, which will reduce the odds of falling. When looking at a home, it’s great if there are task lights available, and these lights should be adjustable so you can move them as you need. Light switches should be accessible and can often be adjusted as needed. Dimmer switches or smart home controls are useful ways to easily adjust the lighting throughout the house. Additionally, the entryways will also need to be modified to accommodate you if you use a walking aid or wheelchair. Wheelchair users will need to have a ramp installed and the door’s entrance would have to be wide enough to allow a wheelchair through. Steps at an entrance can be a serious trip hazard in an entryway, so they should be at least three feet wide.
Finding a home that meets your needs is important as you need to age in place safely. Make sure you look for senior accessible features when you’re house hunting.