When looking for—or building—a home later in life, there are a few safety and convenience features you should keep in mind. Use this as a guide to find the ideal home for your golden years.

Plan Ahead for a Carefree Life

According to a Better Homes and Gardens survey, 57% of Baby Boomers (aged 49-57) plan to move out of their current homes. Many look for late-in-life homes just before retirement with plans of living independent, active lifestyles.

Have you considered where you’d like to retire? If you’re like most, you’re probably still healthy and mobile. However, if the plan is to stay in your new home for the next 20 to 30 years, you may want to think ahead to future needs, and consider:

  • Wide hallways to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers
  • Master bedroom located on the ground floor
  • Eye-level storage cabinets for ease of access
  • Attached garage
  • No-step entrance
  • Non slip flooring such as carpeting
  • Bathroom hand rails and grips
  • Walk-in shower or tub

Loss of mobility and agility is a natural part of aging. The above features help you live comfortably as you grow older.

Neighborhood Accommodations

In addition, familiarize yourself with the accommodations your potential neighborhood has to offer. See if local grocery stores offer delivery services or if senior-support associations cater to the area. (For example, Meals on Wheels provides a zip-code look-up tool to demonstrate the areas they serve.) While these accommodations may not be a current need, it's possible you may want them in the future.

Also consider your neighbors and neighborhood amenities. Will you be close to a pharmacy or far from your doctor? Map your regular activities to ensure that your errands aren’t too far.

Furthermore, assess the safety of your neighborhood. A look at your neighborhood’s demographics, crime history and police presence will provide you the foundation to understand the area. A good source for this information could be your local home security provider. They usually have a good pulse on what is happening in the communities they serve.

Keep Personal Safety Top of Mind

Despite finding or building a home with all the above amenities, a lapse in personal safety is still a real possibility when you come to a certain age. For this reason, consider purchasing a personal emergency response system (PERS). These devices allow seniors to retain independence, while meeting safety and convenience needs.

As you age, your needs change. Be sure your new home allows you to live an independent and happy life for many, many years with proper planning now.

Is your retirement home designed with safety and convenience in mind?

Image Source: Cliffano Subagio via Flickr