These top 10 new home aging-in-place features will help anyone planning to build or buy a new home to live in through retirement. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people living in the U.S. that are 65 and older has grown by over 34% in the last decade.
A 2021 article from AARP explains, “Data shows that 77 percent of adults 50 and older want to remain in their homes for the long term — a number that has been consistent for more than a decade.” However, many of those people realize they would need to make considerable modifications to their current homes to do that.
A better option for many seniors is to build or buy a new home which enables them to get the right-size home with aging-in-place features built-in and the cost savings and convenience of modern systems and appliances.
Whether you plan to build or buy a new home or make modifications to your existing home, consider incorporating these top 10 new home aging-in-place features to make your life easier, safer and more enjoyable through retirement.
One of the reasons homeowners love single-level living is the ease of moving from one area of the home to another. With the main living area and bedrooms on one level and an open-layout design, life is easier and safer. From cleaning and maintenance to entertaining and moving between spaces, not having to deal with stairs and steps is a plus for people of any age from toddlers to seniors.
First Floor Owner’s Suite
Even if you have a multi-level home or a second-floor bonus suite, having the owner’s suite on the first floor works best for aging in place and overall safety. No more dreading navigating the stairs in the middle of the night to get a glass of water from the kitchen or running back upstairs to get something you forgot in the bedroom when you’re trying to leave the house.
One advantage of walk-in showers is they provide easier access than tub/shower units. They can be built with low thresholds or flush to the bathroom floor to prevent tripping. This allows easy access for individuals with mobility issues or anyone confined to a wheelchair. This is especially beneficial for middle-aged and older homeowners who may not currently have mobility issues but plan to stay in their homes long-term.
Limited Steps at Entry & Garage
Minimizing or eliminating steps between indoor and outdoor spaces is a major component of the top 10 new home aging-in-place features. By minimizing stairs and steps, you not only make it possible for someone in a wheelchair or using a walker to move between indoor and outdoor spaces more easily, but you also minimize the risk of an older relative or a young child taking a dangerous fall. It’s also easier on the knees and allows you to live in your home for years to come. If you have aging pets, they’ll probably be much happier not having to go up and down stairs every day.
Open floorplan designs usually combine the main living areas of the home, including the kitchen, dining and living rooms into a large open space instead of dividing it up with walls. Adding larger windows increases the amount of natural light in the home. The resulting space appears larger, more versatile, and has improved traffic flow and ease of movement. It’s also easier to keep an eye on young children or grandchildren from anywhere in the main living area.
Wide Doorways & Hallways
Whether you are planning for future needs or someone in your home is using a walker or wheelchair, having wide doorways and hallways makes a huge difference in how easy it is to navigate inside your home. Even if you don’t have anyone in the home with those needs now, cleaning and moving furniture between rooms or in and out of your home is more convenient with wider doorways and hallways.
A four-season room can be anything from a screened porch refitted with windows, closed in, and insulated and finished out as living space to an optional sitting room in a new home. Large windows allow those that can’t easily travel outside to enjoy the beauty of the natural outdoors. Some home designs include a four-season room with ample large windows on the exterior walls as part of the main living area.
Bonus Space for Family & Guests
Having space for family members to stay while visiting is always important, but as you age, you’ll want them to have their own space with a bathroom and small living area if possible so they can stay for extended periods if needed.
The versatility of a bonus suite gives you a multi-purpose area in your home that can be used to suit your lifestyle. One of the great aspects of true flex-space is that it can easily be repurposed as your needs or preferences change.
Mechanisms and Technology
Most people don’t consider how difficult it might be to use doorknobs and cabinet knobs, or even light switches when they get older. Using lever handles on doors, cabinet pulls that are easy to grip and rocker panel light switches can make a big difference for those with impaired mobility.
Technology can often make things simpler such as lighting, door locks, garage doors and thermostats that can be controlled using a smartphone. However, this can also present problems if the screen icons are too small to see easily for someone with impaired vision. Switching to a tablet controller can help but maintenance issues may be too much for many older people to deal with, so these options need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Outdoor Living Space
When designing a home for aging in place, don’t underestimate the importance of outdoor living spaces. There are many benefits to spending time outdoors. In order to enjoy outdoor living spaces as you age, you’ll want to minimize or eliminate steps between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Epcon Communities has been building homes and communities that appeal to the 55+ home buyer for over 35 years. Our luxury single-level homes can incorporate wide doorways and hallways, and minimal stairs between inside and outside areas in our homes. Our communities are designed to bring people together with amenities and activities that provide a variety of options.
Epcon Communites floorplans use an open concept design with fewer walls and large windows to allow more natural light in the home. Most of our popular floorplans come with options for an owner’s suite sitting room with easy access to the private garden courtyard and a walk-in shower in the bathroom. Other structural options include a second-floor bonus suite with an optional kitchenette and wet bar.
If buying a new home with some of the most important top 10 new home aging-in-place features built in is important to you, contact us to learn more about where we build. Come visit our communities to see the modern, luxurious style and amenities of our homes and communities and learn about the low-maintenance lifestyle we offer.