Accessible Living: Should you Stay or Should you Go?

Whether you’ve recently been in an accident that’s left you permanently disabled or are simply planning ahead for the mobility concerns that come with age, keep reading. Here, we’ll offer tips and advice on buying a home to fit your needs and ways to modify your current home so you don’t have to move.


There are a number of reasons you might choose to move from your h

ome. For example, you live in a two-story townhouse and have recently become confined to a wheelchair. Fortunately, there are many ways to begin your new home search. Start by researching home values online. Most sites offer filters that will help you refine your wants and needs. In the previously mentioned scenario, you might look for a one-story home with no stairs at the entry and 36- to 42-inch wide doors throughout. You can also talk with a local real estate agent, who will be knowledgeable of the market and may have even toured homes that could be of interest.

Searching for a new home is a daunting task, especially if you have a disability. If you are considering a multi-housing unit, such as a condominium our duplex, you should know that properties built after March 1991 must include reasonable accommodations for those with physical disabilities. Private properties aren’t tied to the same stipulations so even if you do find a home that checks most of your needs boxes, modifications may still be in order.


If you are thinking about staying in your current home or updating the new home to best suit your mobility needs, you have plenty of options. But first you should consider the cost of remodeling. For example, in Los Angeles, the average cost of remodeling a bathroom can be as much as $24,864. One of the first and most important things you can do is to increase the lighting, especially in the hallway and bedroom. Motion-sensor night lights can help illuminate your path throughout the night. In the bathroom, a walk in tub will allow you to relax and enjoy a warm bath without adding strain on your hips and knees.

Flooring is another area that should be considered, as tile in the kitchen and bathroom can become slippery and offers no padding in case of falling accidents, which happen to be the number one cause of injuries to seniors, according to the CDC. Vinyl and linoleum are often recommended for seniors, as they can cushion a blow and are easy to clean and maintain. In the bedroom and living areas, neutral-colored carpet is a viable option but must be inspected regularly and stretched to ensure a smooth walking surface. Jimmy Boyd’s Flooring America goes into greater detail and explains the benefits of the most popular senior-friendly flooring options.

A limited range of motion can make it difficult to navigate the kitchen. Lower countertops, grip-style cabinet and drawer pulls, and knob-based appliances can help you continue to prepare meals for yourself safely and efficiently.

The decision is yours

The choice to move or continue on in your present housing situation is deeply personal. It should be based primarily on your safety and convenience. Consider the layout of the home, its location in proximity to vital services and community amenities, and the cost of completing renovations versus relocating to a new home. If you will need extensive remodeling, it might make more financial sense to move. On the other hand, if your needs are few, you can safely remain in familiar surroundings by looking forward and making accommodations that best suit your abilities.

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