New Houses in Retirement
August 5, 2016
Essential Features of New Houses in Retirement Communities
If you have never lived in a newly-built home, or have lived in an older suburban development, you may not be fully aware of new construction’s numerous advantages, especially in 55 and over active communities in Delaware and elsewhere.
Even if you are not looking to move immediately, you will want to be aware of these important features, which should be integrated into most active retirement homes. They may also help you evaluate when and whether you are ready for such a move.
1. Single-Story Design: To ensure easy living, long-term aging in place, and avoiding possible causes of accidents, look for homes that are just one story. This means no steps at all, like front-stoop steps, sunken livings rooms, or even basements.
2. Wide Hallways, Doorways, and Wide Open Spaces: Unlike older homes, which tend towards narrow hallways and doorways, new construction offers ample space to move around. Open floor plans are also great for company, especially for friends and family who have difficulty maneuvering or use ambulatory devices, like walkers or wheelchairs.
3. Access-Enabled Bathrooms: Bathrooms can pose difficulties, given wet surfaces and the demands that they place on users to shift into different positions. For instance, stepping in and out of bathtubs can be difficult for people who are less mobile. The best bathrooms have step-in showers (no steps) and a wide door for entry. Grab bars in the shower and by toilets are equally important.
4. Easy-to-Access Storage Spaces: You don’t want to contort yourself to get in and out of storage spaces. Check for accessible storage, ideally large closets, pantries, and garages.
5. Easy-to-Use Appliances: If you are looking to age-in-place, it is worth noting appliance positions and heights. Do you need to bend down to use the washer and dryer, or access the freezer? Do you need to reach up to use the microwave? In such cases, you may want to ask if appliances can be adjusted for height.
6. Multi-generational homes: Today, multigenerational living is common (just as it was many decades ago). If you anticipate that an adult child or elderly parent may be joining you, or if you expect regular visitors—children, grandchildren, or friends—look for spaces that are suitable for such different configurations of people. For instance, a guest suite over the garage may work for an adult child or grandchildren, whereas an aging parent may be more comfortable with their own room or suite on a house’s main floor.
In new construction in over 55 Delaware communities and elsewhere, you should be able to find the features you need to make your retirement as enjoyable as possible.