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Preparing Your Home for Retirement

Aging in Place

Looking forward to retirement? Aren’t we all!

Before you trade in your BlackBerry® and briefcase for a bran muffin and Buick®; you need to get your home ready to “age-in-place.”

If you’re not familiar with the term aging-in-place, have no fear, we have the scoop!

Aging-in-place is the ability to live in one’s own home – wherever that may be – for as long as confidently and comfortably possible.

If you plan to live in your current home through retirement here are some tips for increasing your home’s livability.

» Main living on a single story, including full bath
» No steps between rooms/areas on the same level
» 5-foot by 5-foot clear/turn space in living area, kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom
» Minimum of 36 inches wide hallways, wider preferred
» Well lit
» Accessible path of travel to the main entry
» At least one no-step entry with a cover
» Doorways need to be 32 inches of clear width, which requires a 36-inch door
» Flush no-step thresholds
» 5-foot minimum access aisle between accessible van and car in garage
» If code requires garage floor to be several inches below entrance to house for fume protection, can slope entire floor from front to back to eliminate need for ramp or step
» Ramp to doorway if needed
» Handrail if steps
» Wall support and provision for adjustable and/or varied height counters and removable base cabinets
» Upper wall cabinetry – 3 inches lower than conventional height
» Base cabinet with roll out trays and lazy susans
» Pull-down shelving
» In multi-story homes, laundry chute or laundry facilities in master bedroom
» At least one wheelchair maneuverable bath on main level with 60-inch turning radius or acceptable T-turn space and 36-inch by 36-inch or 30-inch by 48-inch clear space
» Bracing in walls around tub, shower, shower seat and toilet for installation of grab bars to support 250 – 300 pounds
» If stand-up shower is used in main bath, it is curbless and minimum of 36 inches wide
» Adjustable/ handheld showerheads, 6-foot hose
» Toilet 2 ½ inches higher than standard toilet (17 to 19 inches) or height-adjustable
» Slip-resistant flooring in bathroom and shower
» Multi-story homes may provide either pre-framed shaft (ie. stacked closets) for future elevator, or stairway width must be minimum of 4 feet to allow space for lift
» Residential elevator or lift
» Adjustable closet rods and shelves
» Lighting in closets
» Rocker or touch light switches
» Direct wired to police, fire, and EMS (as option)
» Smooth, non-glare, slip-resistant surfaces, interior and exterior
» If carpeted, use low (less than ½ inch high pile) density, with firm pad

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