Paul Stonkus' Blog
Buying a home that works for both seniors and young children can be complicated, if not impossible. When searching for a new home, it’s important to keep in mind the special requirements for every member of your family both now, and as they continue to age.
Parents or other older relatives may need assistance getting upstairs or in and out of a tub. Even if they are fine now, aging is a tricky thing and mobility issues can crop up at any time. Planning for them now can save you money and stress in the future.
At the other end of the spectrum, child-proofing a home is important for small children or new infants, so keep an eye out for sharp edges and remember you’ll have to bring strollers, high-chairs, car seats and more so plan for easy-to-open doors. Don’t forget that as your kids get older, their needs will change as well: plan for privacy and personal space where you can to save on upgrading your home in the future.
For the best home search, make sure to let your real estate agent know who all will be living with you. He or she can assist in finding homes with the features you need and can provide advice about what things are feasible to change yourself, and what will make a house cost more than your budget in the long run.
Some important features to look for include:
- Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.
- Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? We can help! Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.
- Wide Doorways: A door without a turning requirement (and those that open wider than a right angle) need to be at least 32 inches wide to ensure that wheelchairs and walkers will fit. Right angle doorways or those that require turning to enter or exit should be at least 36 inches wide.
- Wide Hallways: For comfortable use by strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs, look for hallways that are at least 42 inches wide. That much space gives you the option of installing handrails on one or both sides. Handrails can help both small children learning to walk, and elderly people with mobility issues.
That’s the easy part. The hardest room for both the very young and the elderly is the bathroom. It’s a good idea to ensure that your home has a minimum of 2 full bathrooms to allow you to accommodate the needs of all members of your family. Seniors need ADA toilets (also called comfort height) and grab bars, while your small child would need an extra-tall stool to use the taller toilet. Large showers with floor level entrances, seats and grab bars are best for the elderly, but its often easier to wash your kids in a tub, especially when they’re young. With two bathrooms, you can satisfy the needs of everyone in the family.
Last, but not least, pay attention to faucets, handles, and knobs. Rounded ones can be difficult for both the old and young members of your family. Look for a single handle, lever and touchless options for the best results all around. Don’t forget to test cabinets and drawers for weight or friction pull closers since those are more difficult than soft close or magnetic options. It’s okay if the home doesn’t come pre-fitted with the knobs, handles, etc. you want, a quick trip to your local hardware store will solve it.
Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.
Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.