by Kaye Swain
The last time my mom and I moved, our priorities were:
- A bedroom, bathroom with a shower or a safe low tub, and laundry room on the first floor or a single story home
- A safe neighborhood
- Sidewalks for the long walks she thoroughly enjoyed.
Four years later and the first two items are still there but #3 has been changed due to her health issues. She has switched to treadmill walking because of allergies and weather so the sidewalk isn't as vital, which helped a lot. She requested a newer home with push handles for the shower and sinks as those are easier for aging hands with arthritis. After days of hunting I was finally blessed to find ONE that fit the bill. And if sidewalks were still on the list, I wouldn't even have had that!
We have found that it's vital to start the process by sitting down with your senior and discussing the various needs and desires, making a list of must-haves AND must-NOT haves, and keeping that list at the forefront of your mind as you go house-hunting.
It's also very important to actually visit each house individually rather than take another person's opinion, no matter how experienced they are or how many photos they send. Otherwise, you might not realize until it's too late that a hall is not wide enough for a wheelchair or that a house that seems perfect has a sunken living room! That would never have been on our list of must-NOT haves, yet I found TWO houses with that floor plan! They look nice but can be major safety hazards for elderly parents (not to mention baby boomer caregivers).
Now we're off on an exciting new journey to what will, hopefully, be a safe new home. My senior mom is most interested in the lovely garden I told her about and her much bigger bathroom, while I am breathing a sigh of relief for a home that we can BOTH enjoy and be comfortable AND safe in.