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Building a New Home for Retirement and Aging in Place: Four Features to Consider

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Having a new home built for your retirement can be a great way to ensure you get all the features and amenities you need. While you want the house to be a great retreat for your years in retirement, it's also important to consider features that will help you age in place. When you discuss the plans with your home builder, here are some options to consider that can help your home stay comfortable for years to come.

Single-Story Floor Plan

One important consideration is the floor plan itself. Choosing a single-story floor plan, such as a ranch, can be an ideal option for retirees. This means no stairs to contend with, so there are fewer mobility concerns as you age. If you do choose a floor plan that includes a second story or basement, be sure that the staircases are wide enough to accommodate adaptive equipment, including an automatic chair lift or a second grab bar along the wall.

Spacious Bathrooms

Having spacious bathrooms can bring a luxury spa feel to your retirement house, but it can also be perfect for aging in place. The more space you have to move around, the easier it will be should you ever need to use a walker or wheelchair. Consider a separate shower and bathtub so you can choose the right option for every stage of life. Also, consider double-door entrances for a more luxurious appearance and for easier access into the bathroom.

Smart Home Setup

Smart home automation makes it easier to control virtually everything in your home, from the lights and thermostat to the washing machine and dishwasher. Work with your home builder to ensure the plugs and outlets are compliant with smart home systems, and look for appliances that work with smart hubs. Smart appliances feature unique options, such as automatic start for the dishwasher and automatic preheat for the oven. Your home builder can also add smart locks to your home, which can be opened with your smartphone instead of a key for easy access to your home even if you happen to forget where you placed the keys.

Expansive Porches

Aging in place isn't just about accessibility. Having space to enjoy yourself at every age is also important. Adding expansive porches to the front and back of the home gives you a place to use as your outdoor retreat. A covered porch protects you from harsh sunlight and rainy weather, so you can enjoy more time outside. Consider having a wide entrance built for each porch, as you can later transition the steps into a ramp if needed. Talk to your home builder about other features, including a built-in swing or roll-down shades to further customize the porch areas.