Tips on What to Look for When Shopping for a Home With Elderly Family Members

by Matty ByloosMay 3, 2016

How to Buy a Senior-Friendly Home

If you’re shopping for a new home and you have elderly parents who are going to be living with you, then you will have an entirely different set of considerations to keep in mind during the home search process.

Seniors have special needs because they simply can’t get around as well as your family’s younger members, and every family member needs to feel comfortable in the new home. With that in mind, here are some very important things you need to consider when shopping for a home with elderly family members.
shopping for home with elderly family member

Stick to One-Story Floor Plans

Keeping your home search to one-story floor plans will make it easier for your elderly loved one to move around the home. Of course, you can always opt for a multi-story home with a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor for your loved one, but this can sometimes make them feel isolated from the family in the evening.

Installing electric chair lifts is another option for a home with multiple floors, but these can be expensive to install and maintain. As a result, we recommend sticking to a one-level floor plan when shopping for a home with your elderly parents.

Bathroom Considerations

If your loved one is in a wheelchair or using a walker, or you expect they might be in the near future, then you are going to have to keep this in mind when shopping for your home. For instance, in order to accommodate a wheelchair, a bathroom doorway needs to be at least 32 inches wide (preferably 36 inches wide).

There also needs to be enough room in the bathroom for your loved one to move in and out of their wheelchair. Handicap supports will also need to be installed, such as handholds, shower seating, and slip-resistant flooring.
handicap bathroom for elderly family member

Privacy Considerations

If you have children in addition to an elderly loved one, then you need to take privacy considerations a little more seriously. After all, you don’t want your elderly loved one being kept up all night by your teen’s late night gaming or studying sessions. When shopping for a home, pay attention to the location of the bedrooms so everyone will be able to enjoy their own privacy and quiet when they need it.

Entry Access Considerations

Depending on your loved one’s ability to walk, you may have to have a ramp installed at your entrance instead of the usual steps. This will almost always have to be an add-on unless you’re having a home custom-built. So, you will need to keep the cost of this installation in mind when shopping for a home.

Financial Considerations

For some families, having an elderly loved one move into the home can be a financial drain, but for others, it presents a wise financial move. For instance, if your loved one will be contributing to the home’s finances, then you may be able to save more money a lot faster.

Depending on your unique situation, your loved one may be able to pay rent while also contributing to the grocery and utility bills. If you discuss your financial arrangement before you buy your home, then you might even be able to take their contribution into mind when determining how much home you can afford. By pooling the household’s financial resources, you may also be able to create a better living experience for everyone in the home.

Buying a home with an older parent is not hard, it just takes more thought and careful consideration because as they continue to age, their care needs will change. Keeping this and the above-mentioned things in mind when shopping for a home will help ensure the home you pick is adequate for not just your loved one’s current and future needs, but also for the needs of everyone else in your family.

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About The Author
Matty Byloos
Matty is the Content Marketing Specialist for Homes.com. He's a newly minted homeowner who currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife. When he's not working, he enjoys writing fiction, working on the house, and enjoying the amazing nature that the city has to offer. He is also the founder of NOVEL Creative Agency.