Aging in Place; Will your home work Aging In Place:  Will your home work for you

Will your home work as you get older?  This is a question that keeps getting asked more and more.  Many older people want to stay in their home and community.  According to an AARP survey 71% of 50-64 year olds want to stay in their homes and communities.  This is called aging in place. according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aging in place is the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. In order to stay in your home and community you must evaluate them.  Make sure your home is functional and will work as you age, and the community has the resources that you need.  Below are some universal designs for the home.

5 Universal Designs to Help Age In Place

Universal design is the design of environment and products that are usable by all people and that will not need any adapting or specialized design.  There are many universal designs but the 5 most common are below.

  • One-floor concept/living: This is just like a ranch home and most 55+ communities are ranch homes.  It gives a homeowner complete access to all parts of the home without having to use stairs.
  • Lever style handles: Most homes have doorknobs that turn.  A great universal design that is functional and visually appealing is the lever style handle.  It makes it easier for everyone to open doors, including wheelchair users.  Instead of turn a knob you just push down on the lever handle.  I have these in my home.
  • No-step entry:  This is a great universal design.  It allows people who use wheelchairs walkers, etc. to easily enter a home.  This is great for everyone.  Imagine if you broke you leg and you had to climb 10 stairs to get into the house.
  • Easily accessible controls and switches:  Light switches  and thermostats should be no more than 24-48 inches from the floor and electical outlets should be 18-24 inches off the floor.  These measurement are really important for people in wheelchairs
  • Wide doors and hallways:  Doorways should be 36 inches and hallways 42 inches wide.  These are very important for people in wheelchairs or walkers, because it allow them enought space to enter rooms and turn around in hallways.

Universal designs are important to help a person age in place.  Another factor that is equally important for older adults is amentities that are available in the community.  AARP did a survey of what older people want and need near there home and community

Amenities Older Adults Want Close to Home

Bus Stop 50%
Grocery Store 47%
Pharmacy/Drug Store 42%
Park 42%
Hospital 29%
Church/Religious 29%
Train/Subway 23%
Big Box Store 18%
Entertainment 16%
Mall 13%

houses-for-saleSo where can a person or buyer go to find the right community that will work for them long term.  AARP has a liveability index that was developed and is the only one that is a nationwide neighborhood-base livability index. This idex covers seven different categories and scores it according to how the neighborhood or community compares to the national average. The index include categories such as housing, neighborhoods, and transportation.  Check it out.

If you need more information or have questions contact me.  I am glad to help.  Below are some other great articles about this topic.

Help to transition - Transition Checklist

Universal Design ideas for the entire house