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Aging in Place: Tips to Make Your Home Safe + Welcoming for All Guests

As I work with clients and their families and we're living longer, one thing I'm hearing over and over again is people want to stay in their homes, their communities and close to their families as long as possible. In fact, the 2015 nationwide National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey found that 13% of buyers purchased a multi-generational home to either care for aging parents or accommodate adult children moving back in (or sometimes both — yikes!). 

These homes range from properties with first-floor master suites or guest suites in other parts of the house to attached accessory apartments (formerly known as in-law apartments), to detached guest houses and now, even granny pods!

Whether you're moving Mom into your home, helping her choose a retirement community, or looking for ways to make her own home a safe, comfortable place for her to stay, there are some key safety issues to consider. And as more people are finding these design elements useful (Who doesn't appreciate a well-placed bench in the shower or a door/faucet handle that's easy to manipulate, like the one pictured here?), they're being included under the umbrella of universal design. If you're planning a kitchen, bath or other home renovation, consider incorporating some of these design elements

In addition, discreet chair rails throughout the house, while being a lovely design element, can also serve as a grab bar for those unsteady on their feet and contrasting colors can help us all to distinguish stair heights and kitchen counters as vision fades. Including these features in your home not only makes it safer and more accommodating for you and your guests, it also makes it attractive to a wider range of buyers when you're ready to sell and move on to a new home.

What do you think? Have you included any of these design elements in your home — or others I didn't mention? If so, what's it like? Do you notice it, or has it become a welcome feature you appreciate yourself?

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