Many of us want to stay in the homes we love as long as we can. But as we get older, even small stairs can prove treacherous. Shelves can suddenly seem too high and cabinets too low. Not to mention the potential disaster high bathtub sides present. Builders who specialize in aging in place construction and remodeling are helping seniors overcome these obstacles, so they can live comfortably in new homes or longer in familiar surroundings.
Understanding Health Limitations for Seniors
Before we decide on what style and which features a home needs to have to best suit a senior, we have to look at a few lifestyle factors that influence seniors daily.
As we age, our bodies don’t function quite as efficiently as they did in our youth, and that days-of-the-week pillbox eventually appears in our medicine cabinet. While we can lightly exercise, eat a healthy diet, and live happy lives, regular doctor visits become a fact of life. Seniors need to cut down on daily activities that present unnecessary risks to health.
If we are smart with our finances early in life, we can have quite a large sum of money in our 401k when we retire. However, this money doesn’t last forever, and Social Security provides only a small fraction of the income we earn as full-time professionals. Most seniors must be frugal with their monthly spending to stay financially comfortable.
Family & Friends
Loved ones become increasingly important as we age. They supply company when we no longer have a workplace to go to and talk among colleagues about our weekends or plan where to eat our lunches. They are also there for us when life surprises us with flat tires and other things that get a little more difficult to deal with as we get older.
Best Features for a Senior-Friendly Home
Taking lifestyle into account, the best home for senior-friendly living has the following characteristics:
A home with one-story eliminates an obstacle to comfortable senior living – stairs. Stairs can not only be bothersome to aging knees, but can be downright dangerous in case of a fall. If you are a senior currently residing in a two-story home, and are opposed to moving into a one-story, you may need to install a chair-lift, which can be costly.
Cutting down on the amount of rooms you have to maintain each day can significantly cut down on wear and tear to your body. Less dusting and vacuuming means less lifting and bending down. More rooms raise utility prices as they use additional energy.
Just enough yard to do some leisurely gardening or to enjoy some afternoon tea is ideal for seniors. A large yard requires constant upkeep to not become the neighborhood eyesore, and paying for landscaping services is outside the budget of many seniors relying on their Social Security checks.
Ramps with handrails help to make the simple act of leaving and entering the home safer for seniors. Plus, it makes the home easily accessible to seniors with wheelchairs or walkers.
The bathroom can be a dangerous room for the young and old alike. Making the bathroom safer for seniors who may be more affected by a minor slip and fall is essential. Walk-in tubs, shower seats, and extra handrails are helping to accomplish this.
Close to doctor/hospital
Seniors make frequent doctor visits, so having a home near their primary physician is a must. Close proximity to a hospital is also essential.
Close to family
Family keeps seniors healthier with the happiness only loving relatives can provide. They also keep seniors sharp and connected to memories. Family can also help with important decision making and staying up on bills. In addition, they can help with some of the chores or activities that have become difficult for a senior to do, like taking boxes of seasonal decorations down from the attic.
Find A Senior-Friendly Home Near You
Let the Northrop Team help find you the ideal house for seniors. Our Maryland real estate agents are experienced with the needs of seniors and are ready to find you a home that will help you or the seniors in your life live comfortably and safely for years.