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What to Look for When Buying a Home for Senior Living


When buying a home for senior living and at-home retirement, it is important to consider not only the current physical condition of those who will reside there, but also their possible future residential living needs. In other words, if it is possible during the time you plan to own the home that any resident could become dependent on a walker, wheelchair, or scooter, plan for future accessibility and adaptability. Also consider the possible needs of friends or family members with mobility impairments who may visit.

Simply put, there are dozens of considerations for making any home senior-safe. I’ll share more in a future post. In the meantime, here is a brief sampling of things to look for when buying a home for senior living:

Access and Doors

It’s important to make it as easy as possible for residents and visitors to approach and enter the home. Ideally, approach paths should be level, without steps, and with a low-profile threshold. If that’s not possible, they should at least be adaptable for a future ramp to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter. Inside, transitions between floor surfaces should be flush or with a maximum rise of ½ inch.

Your home should also use exterior doors that are at least 36 inches wide. They should feature lever-type handles for easy operation, too. Interior doors should follow the same guidelines or at least be replaceable to accommodate the wider width.

Interior Space Requirements

Because of the space requirements for using a wheelchair or scooter, it is important to plan ahead and make sure you’ll have plenty of room – even if you are downsizing. Typically, each room should include at least a 5-foot by 5-foot area for maneuverability (after furniture has been placed, that is).

Hallways and corridors should be as wide as possible – at least 42 inches in most cases, with enough room for a wheelchair or scooter to make a turn into an interior room through a standard doorway.

Above all, when possible, choose a home where you can live on one level, at least temporarily should you become unable to use stairs. If your home does have a stairway, it should be capable of being retrofitted with a chair lift if necessary.

Kitchen and Bath Design for Seniors

In the kitchen and bathrooms, choose cabinets that can be adapted to open up knee space, if necessary, so you can comfortably maneuver a wheelchair or scooter into place. This will make cooking and personal care safer and more convenient.

In at least one living-level bathroom, choose (or adapt to) a curbless or roll-in shower if possible. For safer and more comfortable bathing, opt for a shower or tub with a bathing seat.

Many More Considerations When Buying a Home for Senior Living

What I’ve presented here are just a few important things to look for when buying a home for senior living. Unless the home was specifically designed to accommodate senior residents, you’ll probably have to consider how adaptable the home is for future use. To learn more about choosing – or adapting – your next home for senior living and home-based retirement, contact me today at 317.442.4797. As a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist with a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Administration , I’m uniquely qualified to help you make the best home buying decisions.

#Senioradaptability #Seniors #safety #Realtor