If you're like many people who are on the verge of retiring, you're probably looking forward to enjoying a healthy, active retirement. Like many of those in your position, you're probably also thinking about selling your present home and moving into a smaller place, especially if you're still living in the home in which you raised your family. After all, smaller homes are easier to care for, and you may feel as if you don't really need a family-sized home anymore. However, while you may be fit and mobile at this point of your life, the same may not be true several years down the road, so it's probably smart to look for senior-friendly features in your next home. Following are five senior-friendly home fixtures you need to know about.
One of the biggest slip-and-fall hazards in residential households are throw rugs placed on smooth flooring surfaces. Even if these rugs are placed on nonslip pads, the edges may curl upwards and create a slip-and-fall hazard in their own right. Another significant hazard exists where wall-to-wall carpeting is used throughout the home except in rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms. The slip-and-fall danger happens because the flooring is not consistent from room to room. Linoleum, ceramic, bamboo, and cork flooring are all good choices, but if you really want the look, feel, and warmth of wall-to-wall carpeting, very thin carpeting will reduce the risk of tripping.
Open Floor Plans
Open floor plans reduce the difficulties involved in getting from one room to the other. Although this may not matter much right now, if the time comes when you need to use mobility aids to navigate through your daily routine, you'll be glad you chose a home with an open floor plan. As an added bonus, homes with open floor plans aren't as shadowy as those with many separate rooms, and shadows are a significant slip-and-fall hazard in their own right. Your indoor living space will also get more natural light if you've got an open floor plan.
As their name implies, pocket doors go into a specially formed crevice in the wall when they're opened. Most of them slide along a ceiling-mounted track and are easy to maneuver. Pocket doors provide way more clearance and space than their traditional counterparts, and they don't pose safety hazards by casting shadows when they are left ajar. They're also a great option for when you've got an open-concept living space but still want the occasional choice of rooms with more privacy. For instance, you can have a pocket door installed between your kitchen and dining area that you can close when you want a dining area that offers more formality for special occasions. Pocket doors can also make smaller homes look and feel larger.
Nonslip Bathroom and Kitchen Flooring
Nonslip flooring is essential in any room of the home where water is used as a matter of routine. Good options include textured linoleum or ceramic tiles, polished concrete with added aggregate to provide texture, cork, bamboo, and non-slip vinyl flooring. Carpeting used to be a popular option in these areas for those who wanted to avoid slip-and-fall hazards, but this approach tends to promote an environment conducive to the development of mold and mildew colonies.
You don't have to have mobility issues to experience safety hazards in the bathroom, and a walk-in shower provides one of the best ways to prevent accidents from happening. Having it equipped with grab bars will provide an extra layer of protection.
Some people in your position choose to build a brand-new house to match their personal needs and preferences. Please feel free to contact your local contractor for more information on having house plans drawn up to your unique specifications.