Top 10 Features of Aging-in-Place Homes
Posted October 31, 2019 6:00 a.m. EDT
Updated November 29, 2019 8:58 a.m. EST
According to AARP, three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. Unfortunately, a much smaller percentage actually plan for that. If you are considering remodeling your current home to make it more senior-friendly or are looking to downsize to a home that can help extend your time there, here are ten features that can you should be aware of.
Senior Realtor Deb McCutcheon recently shared these in a seminar for the Triangle Chapter of the National Aging in Place organization. As someone who worked with the elderly as an occupational therapist for years, she is well-equipped to know what is important.
- Entry Way
Covered entrance; well lit; minimal to no steps up to the home; may require zero-clearance threshold if in wheelchair/ walker. (door thresholds no more than ¼” high). No ramps at front of home (OK in back if not visible from street).
Attached garage; zero-clearance is ideal, can install electric lift if needed.
- Wider Doorways
36” doorways needed for wheelchairs; 32” for walkers. Barn-style or sliding doors eliminate the door swing hinderence. Lever-style door handles.
- Main level living
Ranch-style homes or at least Master-on-Main and one other bedroom downstairs. Some prefer stairs as form of exercise; install handrails on both sides of steps, add slip-resistant treads to all steps.
Zero-clearance shower with grab-bars, bench seat, hand-held shower head.
Raised, elongated toilets (17 ½” high vs. 15” makes a big difference). Reverse swing on door.
Non-slip flooring: LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) or textured tile; eliminate carpet and throw rugs.
Increase wattage of bulbs; install rocker switches at wheelchair height; motion-sensor lights outside for security; hallway & stair lighting; task lighting in kitchen/ work areas.
- Low Maintenance
Vinyl siding and soffits; newer construction; HOA for lawn, gutters & exterior care; consider purchasing a Home Warranty policy.
- Community Resources
Proximity to family & close friends; near bus line or other public transportation; sidewalks; near groceries/ food, shopping, library, Senior Centers.
- Amazon Echo - ~ $100
- Ring Video Doorbell- ~ $180, (over age 75, 46% of females and 23% of males live alone).
- Sensi-Smart Thermostat -~$130, voice-controlled, works w/ Echo
- Wemo Light Switch - ~ $50, controlled by phone app
- Smart Refrigerator - ~ $3500, order groceries, reads recipes
- Med-Minder Pill Dispenser - ~ $65
- Stove Guard CookStop- ~ $600, turns stove off if left on
- Robotic Vacumn Cleaners -
- Robotic Lawn Mowers - ~ $1000
- Automatic Door Systems – “ Home Automation”
- Approach Wall Cabinet Lift System – raises cabinets up and down
- Strobe light on Smoke Detectors
Deb McCutcheon is a Realtor with the special designation, Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). Deb is also an Occupational Therapist. Her combined expertise can help clients find homes to age-in-place safely and comfortably.