Senior-Friendly Housing


Weighing the Ins and Outs of Senior-Friendly Housing Arrangements

(Contributed by


Once you reach a certain point in life, it’s normal to start thinking about senior-friendly housing.  Maybe your kids have moved on, or you’re preparing for retirement, or you recently received a medical diagnosis that has you concerned about your living environment.  Whatever your situation, there is an option to meet your needs. 


Upgrading through downsizing


When examining housing options, downsizing is a top choice for many seniors.  It’s often a chance to upgrade your lifestyle, particularly if your current home is paid for.  Dave Ramsey points out that with careful downsizing, you can sell your house, buy a smaller, more age-friendly home outright, make any appropriate renovations, and perhaps even come out ahead. 


As an example, homes in Fairfax sold for an average price of $570K last month.  If you sell your home and end up not only in the black but have funds left over, you can set it aside for a rainy day, use it for traveling, or just enjoy spoiling the grandkids.  Before you go on any spending sprees, though, make sure you have enough saved to carry you through retirement.  You can use this calculator to crunch the numbers. 


Age-friendly structure


Certain house designs lend themselves better to aging in place than others.  For example, minimizing the steps at your home’s entryway can make a big difference if you experience mobility concerns.  A single-story home is easiest on your joints and makes things like cleaning the gutters more doable.  A low-maintenance exterior, such as with brick or vinyl siding, lightens upkeep as well.  If you find a house that lends itself well to your situation, or you choose to remain in your current home, making some changes can turn it into your perfect solution.


What sort of changes?


Making a traditional house more age-friendly can be very involved, or it can be relatively simple, depending on the structure of the house and your personal circumstances. 


As an example, if you are in a situation where you need assistive equipment, such as a walker or wheelchair, small, traditional bathrooms can be challenging to navigate.  In that case, a full renovation might be in order.  Many seniors can get by with a few simple changes, such as installing a taller commode, grab bars, and faucets with lever-style handles.  To decide what would be best for you, an aging-in-place checklist makes things easier to sort. 


Another suggestion is to investigate smart home options.  Technology can greatly ease many of the challenges seniors face, such as voice-activated lights, medication reminders (can be purchased for $35.08 on Amazon), and stove-tops that use motion activation to turn off when they are unattended. 


Consider assistance


It’s no secret that as we grow older, certain things can become more challenging.  Maybe your back and joints don’t cooperate, or your vision isn’t what it used to be, or maybe you have balance issues.  For those who experience hurdles with some daily basics, yet still enjoy an active lifestyle with general independence, an assisted living facility can be the ideal solution. 


Assisted living facilities offer a community-style living arrangement and have staff available to help you with those daily hurdles.  At the same time, you have the freedom to do as you please.  On top of all that, you can access certain amenities, like transportation services, laundry service, group activities, and exercise rooms. 


Assisted living communities are a great opportunity to stay engaged, especially for seniors at risk for becoming isolated.  As SeniorAdvice explains, lonely seniors are at a higher risk for health concerns, so for many older adults, that’s one more reason to consider this option.


It’s healthy to be thinking about your future housing situation, and there are important factors which can weigh on your choices.  Think through your circumstances and what will best meet your needs. Finding a senior-friendly housing arrangement can help you stay safe, comfortable, and content. 

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