When buying a house, most of us are likely to think only about what is appealing to us at the time and what we can afford. We’re less likely to be thinking about whether we’ll be wheelchair bound when we’re older, or if there’s a chance that our parents might be living with us someday. In today’s reality, these are precisely the types of possibilities we should be considering. The old model of retiring and moving to the Sun Belt has is giving way to more and more people who are staying in their homes into their later years. Builders and architects are taking notice, and are increasingly implementing high-tech, user-friendly style and comfort in new house designs to better accommodate all ages.

So what does this mean for those who aren’t in the market for a new house? Fortunately, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive changes you can make to your current home to make it more accessible to residents of any age or level of mobility. If you are a baby boomer, you are most likely right at the stage in life when owners tend to do a little home renovation – typically once the kids leave the nest and as retirement approaches. Keep in mind that universal design isn’t just about wheelchair accessibility; it’s about stroller accessibility as well. Ensuring your home is user-friendly for everyone can bolster the resale value.

Take a walk around your home, and take note of what can be done to make it more user-friendly without breaking the bank. Here are some things to consider for future and present needs:

Accessibility Tips & Tricks

Remember that these changes can be implemented with style, and that in the long run you will save time, frustration and money. Some tasks can be a weekend ‘do it yourself’ project, while others may require a contractor to be completed properly. There are various reliable programs available to help ensure quality and affordability such as CMSS’s Senior Home Maintenance Program.

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education

Assisted Living for Dementia
Chicago Senior Services

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