Buying an Accessible Home: A Guide to a Senior’s Options

Accessible Home

The right home can be a sanctuary, a place that can give us the support and security we need at any stage of life. When you are in the market for senior-friendly accommodation, there can be many things to consider. Here are a few ways to explore the ins and outs of a buying property or even modifying an existing home so that you can age in place.

“Before deciding whether you want to modify your home or move to a more accessible property, weigh up what services are available in your location.”

 

Consider Your Area

Choosing between your own home and possible alternative living can be conflicting. You may have friends and family in your immediate area. Your home, indeed your surrounding neighborhood, may be full of cherished memories. Yet, your area might not be senior-friendly, nor may it have the conditions that support continued independence. Before deciding whether you want to modify your home or move to a more accessible property, weigh up what services are available in your location. Is healthcare within a reasonable distance? Do you have grocery stores and other amenities near to you? What condition are roads or sidewalks in? Does your area have an adequate transport system that you can safely use which might facilitate walkability? Is your house itself subject to any zoning laws that restrict accessibility modifications? These are all important questions to consider.

Home Modifications

Adapting your home can make a world of difference, and allow you to age in place. Think about what your accessibility needs might be over time. You should have at least a single step-less entrance or one that could accommodate a ramp. If you have a staircase, replace steps with ones that have deeper treads to prevent accidents. Make sure hallways are lit with automatic night lights, which will assist in navigating your home in the dark. Handles, whether on doors or cabinets, can be replaced with pull levers to aid continued accessibility. Grab bars and non-slip mats would be excellent additions to bathrooms. If possible, explore walk-in shower or bath options that could also be supplemented with seating for ease-of-use.

While remodeling can sound financially daunting, you may be eligible for funding to support modifications. These include Medicaid waivers for low-income applicants, as well as federal, state, local, and veteran programs.

What to Search For and Hiring Help

However, you may find that your home either cannot accommodate ageing in place. If that’s the case, then house hunting is your best option. Many of the modifications you might have made for your current home are features you will want to look for in new accommodation. This is true, as well, of what amenities and services the surrounding area has. There are various types of housing arrangements, with some dedicated to the senior community, and others that are marketed to all ages. You may be looking to downsize, especially as two-story properties can become challenging. Senior apartments can offer practicality while also providing a positive social setting that could feature numerous valuable services. Certain homes may also have age qualifications and may be designed for ease of accessibility.

Moving and packing can be a difficult and time-consuming process. You can ask your family to help out, but the best option may be to hire professionals. Before hiring a moving service, make sure to compare price quotes and read reviews online.

Funding

If you are wondering how you might go about purchasing a home as a senior, there are options that you can take advantage of. A mortgage is a good bet to pursue, even as a retiree. Some lenders now take your 401(k), IRA, and other retirement assets into account to allow you to apply for one. Lenders may have specific rules for considering these assets, so be sure to consult with various institutions and financial advisors to know what conditions exist. Already owning a home can be another advantage, as you could use proceeds from a sale to reinvest in a new property. Additionally, you could contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine if you qualify for federal assistance in purchasing a home.

Whether you decide to age in place or move to a more senior-friendly accessible home, rest assured that you have choices. Know exactly what your needs are and consider what services and amenities an area offers. You deserve a high quality of life, so never compromise when it comes to an accessible home.

 


Written By: Claire Wentz, Guest Contributor & Author from Caring From Afar

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