f you’re looking to buy a new home in 2011, there are some things to keep in mind when evaluating the aging-in-place features you want in your home. These are just some suggestions to get you started. We’d love to hear what other tips buyers should keep in mind in the new year.
Canes, Walkers & Wheelchairs
If you or a loved one are limited in mobility, you need the proper space to maneuver through.
- Entrance doors should be at least 36″ wide and interior doors a minimum of 32″ wide
- Rooms should not impede passage
- Flooring, carpets, and area rugs should not have a slippery surface
Balance & Standing
Two areas where standing occurs regularly are bathrooms and kitchens.
- Be sure you have enough space for grab bars
- Look for counters at the proper height
- Ensure there are ample places to provide chairs or benches while you perform regular tasks
According to the Age in Place website, as people grow older, many of them experience a reduction in hearing. “Though there are many modifications you can make to your home to help with this, when remodeling or buying keep in mind that older people have a more difficult time hearing phone ringers, doorbells and alarms of any kind,” the site states.
- Are there sufficient telephone jacks in the house? (Commonly used rooms should have them … the closer the ring, the more likely to be heard.)
- Are there smoke/CO2 alarms in the proper rooms? (You always can replace older models with ones that have visual indicators or louder alarms. Having them in the right rooms is the first step.)
- Also, keep in mind that voices through doors are difficult to hear. Having a window in/near entrance doors is a good idea and very important for safety.
Grasping & Holding Items
Opening drawers or doors, holding items that may be heavy and any fixture that requires holding and turning to operate need to be given thought. Consider these questions:
- Do cabinet drawers and doors have “D” shaped handles?
- Are door knobs lever-handled?
- Are there sufficient flat spaces such as counter tops, tables or benches in areas where you will be working or where you may have to juggle carrying a load while performing a task?
- Do all faucets have lever handles?
Diminished eyesight can hinder a person from getting around in their home, using their appliances and make every day tasks more difficult. The Age in Place website suggests keeping these issues in mind:
- Is there sufficient light in every room and work area? Ensuring proper or additional lighting is one of the best (and inexpensive) things you can do for yourself if you have difficulty seeing.
- Are floor transitions easily distinguishable? Having contrasting colors at floor transitions will make them easier to see.
- Do appliances have large displays or text? Choosing models that do will make doing chores much easier and reduce the chance of error
P.S. From our family to yours-Wishing you a Happy New Year!