Age-Proofing A Home For Seniors

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Washington Post, just 1% of homes are appropriate for aging seniors. This article discusses 10 ways you can maximize the safety and usefulness of your home for older adults.

Just 1 percent of homes are conducive to aging in place. So thinking long term about universal design and the ways it can help us remain at home across all life stages is beneficial.

For instance, a zero-step entry offers the same benefits to parents with children in strollers as it does to grandparents using walkers. Other design features — from minor, quick fixes to full-scale renovations — can be implemented in millions of homes. The key is to be aware of best practices, take a long-term view and start to plan for the future now, regardless of your age.

Location also matters. AARP’s Livability Index scores neighborhoods and communities across the United States for the services and amenities that affect your life the most. To make your home span across the decades you must factor in your connection to neighbors, access to transportation (bus routes, Metro stations, walking paths), and proximity to stores, libraries and other resources.

Costs will vary depending on location and project, but designing for all ages fits a range of renovation budgets. Door handles and lighting fixtures are priced in the hundreds of dollars, sliding walls and kitchen countertops can run several thousand dollars, and the average cost to build a deck is $7,000 to $10,000. Homeowners will inevitably deal with other maintenance issues along the way, so renovating one room at a time may be preferable. A whole-house renovation can cost more than $150,000.