No doubt you want to remain in your home as long as possible after retiring in order to continue enjoying your independence and contact with your friends and community. Once you retire you lose that daily structure of getting up, dressed and heading off to the office to see the same people each day. When you are working that daily routine may seem like a terrible chore, but once you retire, you may feel rudderless. It is really really important to maintain connections to your friends, neighbors,and church so that you don’t feel isolated and become depressed.
However, that doesn’t mean that the home you’re currently in is the right home for you to remain in. Here are some features that your current home absolutely must have to make it suitable as you begin to age:
- AT LEAST ONE ENTRANCE MUST BE STEP FREE OR BARRIER FREEBusinesses in the US must have ramps to an entrance in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but that doesn’t help with your home. A well constructed, properly graded ramp that allows a person in a wheel chair to negotiate the ramp on their own is expensive and difficult to build and maintain. It might be better if you look for a home that has step free access, one good solution is an attached over sized garage, as long as it’s on the same level.
- A BEDROOM AND FULL BATHROOM ON THE ENTRY LEVEL OF THE HOMEAt some point in all of our lives we either have looked up at the stairs – or we will – and said “I don’t want to climb those stairs again today.” and at some point in our lives it will become too painful or too dangerous to do so. To remain comfortably in your home you will need to be able to live on one level. Don’t get me wrong, I think two story homes can be a great solution for aging in place, it provides some privacy for caretakers or house guests as well as the homeowner, but you don’t want to “have” to go upstairs.
- ALL HALLWAYS AND DOORWAYS AT LEAST 36 inchesThis is probably the biggest issue when you are looking at a home to move to. Halls are wasted space so they are usually narrow. And while most doorways into the home and into main rooms are 36″ the doors to bathrooms and closets are usually not. Experts recommend 42″ to maneuver a wheel chair so many homes are clearly not a good fit for aging in place.
So if your home is not an ideal candidate for aging in place what can you do? First and foremost contact an exert like myself who has experience identifying homes that provide appropriate accessibility and can help you determine if there are any options that you haven’t considered to make your home more accessible. Together we can walk through your current home together and determine if your home is not the best fit for aging in place, I can switch gears and talk to your about options for remaining in your neighborhood, possibly buying or building a more suitable home or considering a condominium or apartment that would work better for you.
The secret to having your best life at any age is in planning, and the best time to start planning is now. The sooner you start planning the more options you have. If you live in the DC metro area please contact me for a free consultation, if you are outside my work area contact me anyway and I will provide a recommendation for certified builders and realtors in your area.
If you are looking for a home with handicapped facilities already in place, you might check out 3 Brighton Knolls Court, Brinklow, MD. This large home offers four levels in the original gracious clapboard colonial on 6.6 acres with a stable and paddock. The current owners added an additional wing several years ago for elderly family members. The new addition included a separate kitchen and dining area, living room with gas fireplace, half bath on the hall, and a master suite with en suite bath, including soaking tub and separate shower, gas fireplace in the bedroom, walk in closet and private sitting room for the suite. Be sure to call the Lise Howe Group at 240-401-5577 to see this lovely home. With the ramps, expanded hallways and doorways, chair glide and handicapped accessible showers, this home is perfect for in place maturity!