A perfect retirement is all about doing the things you love and enjoying your time with friends and family. However, not all living environments are created equal. When it comes to supporting seniors, there are simply some homes that do the trick better than others.

Houses with multiple floors and steep staircases can be difficult to navigate, exacerbating joint problems and increasing your risk of injury. Slick floors, high-sided tubs, and even round, old doorknobs can make life harder than it needs to be in your golden years. If your house needs extensive repairs or updates to be manageable as you age, it may make sense to downsize.

Downsizing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, however. You need to put careful thought into your own situation and needs to figure out what kind of new space is right for you. Here are a few things you should consider while looking at potential living spaces:

 

Safety and Accessibility
Put simply, our bodies need a little bit more help getting around when we’re older. That’s why it’s important to live in a home that’s as safe and easy to navigate as possible. Try to pick a space that’s only one floor: Multi- and split-level homes present unnecessary challenges.

Moreover, you may be able to find a home that has senior accessibility in mind. Features like chair lifts can make multi-level spaces safer. Detachable showerheads and walk-in stalls make showering easier and more comfortable.  Lever-style door handles are another feature to watch out for, as these can be much easier to turn than their round counterparts.

 

Location, Location, Location
It’s important to take your potential new address into account. Ideally, you want a home that’s within walking distance of several shops and services. This way you have a strong incentive to get out and walk every day, getting lots of exercise, sunlight, and socialization.

It can also be useful to choose a place close to your family members. Not only will this make it easy for you to visit each other, but you’ll also have someone nearby in the event that you need a hand with something. Seniors do best when they have a strong social network – make sure you have people around who can support you.

 

Extra Help
Depending on your needs, you may require more help than friends and family members are able to give. If you have extensive mobility issues, or medical issues that need frequent monitoring, it may make sense to consider an assisted living facility.

Many seniors balk at the idea of moving into assisted living out of fear that they’ll have to give up their independence. However, there is a wide range of facilities that offer different levels of care and plenty of freedom, so you should be able to find one that strikes an ideal balance. Many assisted living communities are effectively apartment communities with built-in medical staff – meaning you can live your life the way you want with the support you need.

 

Ideal Aesthetics
Make sure you move to a place you appreciate aesthetically. Beauty might seem like a silly thing to rank highly when picking a living space, but it’s psychologically important to like the space around you. Make sure you have plenty of light and outdoor space you can enjoy. If the yard in your new home needs work to make it more accessible, consider hiring a landscaper who can make the space around your home serene and comfortable. In Jacksonville, it usually costs between $1,341 and $4,200 to achieve your ideal outdoor space. If you’re considering assisted living, value facilities that give you the chance to customize your space or work in a community garden.

When it comes to the move itself, start early, stay organized, and get help. Packing and moving are both more difficult than you might think – consider hiring someone to take these tasks on for you. This way you can focus on what matters most: Making your new space your own.