Aging in place is a goal that many of us have. After all, it's empowering and comforting to continue living independently in our own homes. However, to do so, we need a home perfect for our changing needs. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

Check Flooring

A central part of any home is our flooring, as it's likely to get a lot of traffic. Yet, the wrong type of flooring could increase our risk of slipping and getting hurt. In fact, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, accidental falls are a major cause of injury for most age groups. Still, your flooring choices will depend on your needs, as some are more slip-resistant while others are easier to clean. For instance, carpeting is a soft material that's also great for keeping rooms warm, but it can be cleaning-intensive. Given this, it's a good idea to learn which materials would benefit you and your needs.

Go Smart

Increasingly, smart technology is becoming common in our homes. If you want to age in place, then smart tech is the way to go as various devices can keep us safe, automate daily tasks, and connect us to loved ones. Indeed, you could connect appliances, lights, thermostats, and even window shades to a networked home system. Through that, they might be controlled with voice activation or remotely from your smartphone. Moreover, your home can be fitted with motion sensors that detect falls, intruders, or when your fridge has been left open. In fact, sensors can be added to just about anything, from lighting to doors, to provide peace of mind.

Encourage Accessibility

When we think of accessibility, it's natural to focus solely on installing grab bars or ramps. However, for a property to truly support aging in place, you must be certain that it can handle a range of modifications. In particular, if you opt for a two-story home, how easy might it be to fit a stairlift if it’s necessary one day? Likewise, could doorways be widened or a bath replaced with a walk-in alternative? Thankfully, many adjustments can be as simple as putting in extra lighting or switching out handles and doorknobs for levers.

Outside Features

A small yard may not sound exciting, but having one can be advantageous when aging in place. After all, they require less maintenance compared to big yards and can be customized to fit your needs. Yet, that doesn't mean a yard has to be drab or lacking in color since you could plant bushes and flowers or put in a charming fish pond. A smaller yard offers endless options, yet can still ensure your personal time isn't consumed by chores. Beyond a yard’s size, consider if there are features that might make it inaccessible, like steps or a raised deck. Still, a good yard should be able to accommodate accessibility improvements, from ramps to railings.

Centralize Living

Whether you want a single- or two-story property, look for houses that will let you focus your day-to-day living on a single level. For instance, your kitchen, living area, bathroom, and bedroom would be centralized in one easily accessible area. With that layout, you won't have to constantly go up and down the stairs to do basic tasks or chores. Best of all, if you opt for a single story, you are likely to find cleaning much easier, given that you’ll have less real estate to deal with. Otherwise, over time, a more traditional layout may negatively impact your quality of life, and as a result, it can make aging in place a challenge.

Potential for Transition

Ideally, you’ll be able to age in place throughout your golden years. If your health takes a turn, however, or if you were to suffer an accident, you may need to consider assisted living. Many people mistake assisted living with nursing homes; in fact, they are completely different. Assisted living provides help with meal preparation, cleaning, medication and other activities of daily living, yet enables residents to maintain a significant amount of independence. Regardless of your health now, it can’t hurt to take stock of the various communities in Los Angeles. Tour a few communities to get a feel for what you can expect both in ambiance and cost. Keep in mind the median annual cost for assisted living runs around $54,000, but prices could be higher or lower depending on amenities. You can even go ahead and put your name on a waiting list just in case.

Any house can be a home, but only certain ones are perfect for aging in place. So, be on the lookout for features that can aid that, whether it's accessibility or low-maintenance yards. Your new home should be an enduring sanctuary.

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Article Courtesy of Kent Elliott,