House Hunting for Seniors and Others with Accessibility Needs
If you’re getting ready to start your house hunt and you have special needs to consider, there are many things you can look for that will make your life a little easier. Before you begin, however, spend some time evaluating your needs. And if you are helping an aging loved one downsize or relocate, it pays to think long-term.
First, Decide If a Single-Family Home Is the Best Option
Most people prefer to live in their own homes, and that’s understandable. But, sometimes, factors such as depression, mobility issues, and declining vision can make it difficult at best and a health hazard at worst. If you think it might be time to consider alternative arrangements, such as assisted living, here are a few reasons a senior-oriented facility might make sense.
- Assisted living centers are designed with accessibility in mind. These campuses are expertly tailored to the changing needs of seniors. They are usually staffed around the clock and are a great option for those with health needs that are likely to change.
- Assisted living offers access to amenities and social opportunities. Older people that live alone are less likely to have an active social life, and they may neglect things like their personal or home hygiene. Assisted living eliminates these issues by providing a community of other seniors. Plus, many facilities have on-site fitness centers and even beauty shops, and residents never have to look far for a healthy meal.
Keep in mind that assisted living may cost more than just a monthly fee. Some require a down payment, or you might be expected to prepay. When you are looking for assisted living in Phoenix, ask about their current price and if there are any plans for rates to change in the near future. People in Arizona pay a median of $45,000 annually for assisted living.
Consider a Single-Story Home
If you decide that senior living isn’t quite right, continue your house hunt, but try to focus on homes that are one story. According to Direct from the Planner’s Rachel Lyon, many single-story homes built today already incorporate elements of universal design. This means they have a large bathroom, and all of your daily activities can take place without having to climb up and down potentially dangerous stairs.
In addition to living a stair-free life, your future home should also have:
- Ample lighting. Declining vision can make it difficult to see contrast, and this can result in everything from headaches to falling accidents.
- Slip-free flooring. If you find a home you love, pay close attention to the floors. If you have hardwood, consider adding non-skid mats under the rugs and eliminating hazards like an uneven transition between flooring types.
Choose the living situation that is right for you. Whether this is an assisted living or downsizing to a smaller home, the last thing you want is to have to move again if your needs change.
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Patrick Young is the founder of AbleUSA.