Beyond the Ground Floor Master Suite…As Time Goes By. Tips for Aging in Place.

A ground floor master suite now  looms high on almost every shopper’s master list of must haves in a new home. Or at least a downstairs bedroom and a bathroom! 

Savvy Baby Boomers are thinking about the need or even the joy of “Aging in Place,” making their new home a “Forever Home,”  full of memories and comfort.

As time goes by, what else does your home need to keep you comfortable in case of age, illness or injury?

 A home elevator is designed specifically for use in private residences.

1. ACCESS!—Are there stairs or changes of levels outside or inside the property? Can you drive up to the door?  Are there ramps or handrails in place? How about elevators? Handicap parking spaces? Are there push button entries? 

2. SPACE—Check that doors and halls are wide enough to allow wheelchair or walker access. A doorway needs to be at least 32 in. wide for most wheelchairs. Open floor plans really come into their own when you need room for a temporary hospital bed or a turning circle for a chair!  

3. BATHROOMS—Just as every home needs a bathtub for toddlers, they also need an easy access shower for older or injured members of the family. The bigger, the better. Grab rails are essential safety aids and now come in many attractive shapes, sizes and materials beyond stainless steel. Non-slip tiles are essential.

4. FLOORS—Hardwood floors and tiles are beautiful and sensible choices for the Forever Home. Vinyl is making a stylish and comfortable comeback. Carpet is out of favour because of allergies and mould. Area rugs can be serious tripping hazards, but can at least be rolled up and stored until wanted again. 

Keep future needs in mind when you shop or renovate.

5. KITCHENS—The kitchen can be one of the more dangerous rooms in the home. Keep future needs in mind when you shop or renovate. More and more appliances are being designed to open to the side so older or injured residents can use them more easily. Islands can be adjusted in height if needed. A kitchenette can be an inexpensive addition to a bedroom area. Even a small fridge for a bedroom makes a big difference in self sufficiency. 

6. LIGHTING—Lighting makes such a major difference to the way a home looks, feels and functions. It also is a major safety feature as we grow older. Look for overhead lighting with easy to reach controls and supplement with lamps at points of use. Can you turn the lights on from both ends of the stairs? Outside security lights and well lighted entrance areas and paths are safety musts. An automatic generator  could be a lifesaving investment, keeping lights, access and communication working.

7. COMMUNICATION—Last but never least, communication is ever changing and essential. Check that the wiring in your new home is up to the task. Make sure at least one phone is a landline with no need for internet connections. Some buildings and developments offer concierge services that are very helpful and reassuring for residents with special needs, however temporary. 

Be sure and let your realtor know that you are concerned about Aging in Place. They may know just the beautiful place for your future peace of mind.

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