Buying a home with an in-law suite provides many families with peace of mind for years to come. Whether or not your parents don’t get around as well as they used to or you’re planning ahead for the years ahead, you’ll always be a stone’s throw away from them. And while this isn’t a topic most like to think or plan for, it’s never one you’ll wish you were less informed on.

When shopping around for homes with an in-law suite look for those that are a single story and open floor plan. Come crutches, walker or wheelchair this layout guarantees its inhabitants full access to every room. No chairlift required.

Some things that are especially beneficial when you’re feeling the effects of age are helpful to those at any age. 

Consider these home upgrades first:

Switch out all door knobs for handles. The twisting action of a doorknob is hard and sometimes even impossible for arthritic hands. But it also makes for easier access to any room if you’re hands are full with a laundry basket, groceries or toddler.

A grab bar should be installed in every bathtub. Everyone is susceptible to the slippery surface of the tub. However, as we age our balance and coordination begins to become compromised. A horizontal bar along the length of the tub can multitask as a grab bar and place to keep shampoo bottles and facecloths. This placement is also more subtle than a bunch of horizontal and vertically placed bars.

Another feature every home should have? A motion-sense light outside. Our eyes are no more immune to age than the rest of our body. This makes getting around in the dark much more difficult. Coupled with balance could cause a very severe accident. If your new home doesn’t already have a motion sense lamp this is one upgrade that is best made ASAP.

Once you have the basics in place consider these upgrades your loved ones will really appreciate:

A hand-held shower head with the option of a waist height wall mount. For when movement is limited and especially for those who need to sit while bathing.

A built-in shower bench. This upgrade is really just a nice touch especially compared to the white metal chairs that feel more like an afterthought.

Textured flooring. Tile can get slippery especially when wet. Installing textured flooring can help avoid that infamous “help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” scene from playing out.

Railing along the stairs; ideally along both sides. Stairs can be a dangerous place for anyone especially if we are in a hurry or not paying attention. Having a railing to hold on to will help your loved ones keep their balance.

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