Tips for Seeking Age-Friendly Housing

Authored by Hal Salazar,

It’s common for a senior to look for a new home when a current home is no longer suitable. A house or yard may be too large and require more care than an older adult can provide. When a home has upstairs bedrooms or a basement laundry room, navigating stairs every day can be taxing on a senior with mobility issues. A senior still making mortgage payments may opt for a smaller residence to save money. Regardless of the reason for seeking another home, there are some factors seniors and their families should consider before buying or renting a new place.

Is the Home Convenient to Amenities?

As individuals age, it can become more challenging to travel. Even if a senior continues to drive, it’s better to keep the trips short if possible. Being near health care providers, pharmacies, and grocery stores in Tempe makes it easier for a senior to maintain independence. Also, ride-sharing and public transportation are options for seniors who no longer drive in urban areas. Some county government agencies also offer medical transportation for seniors living in rural areas. Some senior living communities provide transportation for appointments and errands.

Is the Home Accessible?

Seniors who have difficulty walking do better when they don’t have to worry about steps or tripping hazards. Universal design means a house has features that make it accessible for anyone, including seniors with mobility issues or persons with disabilities.

  • A home’s entrance should be free of multiple steps or obstacles that prevent a senior from entering easily.
  • A walk-in design decreases the risk of falls in showers. Grab bars in bathrooms can also prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
  • Single-handle, lever-style faucets make turning the water on and off easier and prevent scalding.
  • Rocker-type light switches require a little more effort, but they can make it easier to operate lights when seniors have limited motor control.

Steps to Take Before Buying a Home

If it has been years since you or a senior loved one purchased a home, look at how much home you can afford. In a competitive housing market that favors sellers, selling your current home could bring in enough money to pay off a new home or make a significant down payment. If you need to borrow to buy a smaller home, it’s essential to select a loan product that meets your financial situation. For example, a veteran can apply for a VA loan, which does not require a down payment. Many people find it easier to qualify for FHA loans, since the government backs them. Conventional loans are also an option. Be sure to seek competitive rates that can help lower your monthly payments.

Look at All Options

Selling your current home to buy or rent a home that allows you to live independently takes research and planning. It pays to consider transportation, access to health care, and accessibility as you search.

Check out the Arizona In-Home Care Association website for information about services to help you age in place.

Who is Hal? Hal Salazar created Elders.Today to lend a helping hand to seniors via carefully curated resources. Hal is newly retired, and as he embarked on planning and preparing for his golden years, he realized there was a lot of information to keep up with so he started gathering it all on his website to help out his fellow seniors.

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