Eight Ways to Make a House Elder-Friendly

If you are selling a house over the next 10 or more years you need to know about a huge trend.  Many buyers are retiring.  Is the house you are selling fit for an aging buyer?  Here is a list of eight things you can do to make your house elder-friendly.  You can do some or all, but if you do these, you may open your house up to many more buyers.
1)      Eliminate throw rugs.  It is way too easy to catch a foot on a throw run and fall.  Throw rugs also can bunch up, creating another tripping hazard.
2)      Install grab bars in bathrooms.  They should be fitted per ADA guidelines and anchored solidly in walls.  Grab bars should be installed by toilets and in bathtubs and showers.
3)      Change door knobs to lever handles.  Arthritic or weakened hands can have a difficult time grasping and turning a door knob.
4)      Elevate the dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer.  This will help to eliminate bending.  Simple pedestals can be put in place under the washer and dryer.  The dishwasher might take a bit more work, but it can be done and it can even look pretty good.
5)      Change dual water faucets to single-handle lever faucets.  Nor only is the single-handle lever easier to use than a knob, but there may be lesser of a likelihood of burning one’s self.
6)      Make sure that all steps and stairs have good rails on both sides wherever possible.
7)      Light everything up.  Put night lights in wall outlets.  Make sure entry ways have adequate lighting.  Place lights by steps both inside and outside.  Make sure all rooms have adequate lighting.  Make sure that there is adequate outdoor lighting for all porches and paths.
8)      Builders should do all of this and more in new homes.  New construction should have halls and doors wide enough for wheelchairs.  Light switches should be lower on the wall so someone in a wheelchair can access them easily.  The switches should also be rocker switches rather than the up and down toggle switches.  Showers should be built so that there is a very minimal step to go over.


About The Author

Sam Chapman is an Austin, TX REALTOR® who works with a variety of clients. He has spent quite a bit of time lately helping people buy retirement homes.

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
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