The essential senior renter checklist
America’s apartment market is seeing an influx of senior renters, who are choosing to leave their oversized, suburban homes behind, in favor of amenity-rich apartment communities. But however active seniors are, there are key factors you need to consider when renting an apartment, especially if you choose a non-age restricted community.
- With over 200,000 accidents registered every year, most of them involving senior citizens, bathrooms are decidedly the most dangerous part of every home. When taking your walk-through in a potential new apartment, thoroughly check over the bathroom. ADA-compliant showers are definitely a something to look for – having a shower seat or bench gives you more comfort and security and the lack of a threshold makes getting in and out significantly safer. Also check if showerheads or mobile, or if you can easily install one.
- If the unit (also) has a bathtub, measure if there’s enough space to make use of a transfer bench to safely get in and out of the bathtub.
- If you’re looking at an apartment outside of a senior housing development, chances are your bathroom won’t have any grab bars. Ask if you can install one (without losing your deposit).
- Check if floors are non-slip. This applies for the entire house, not just the bathroom. Kitchen floor tiles or a highly polished hardwood floors can be hazardous.
- Other features to look out for in a kitchen are lever-handle faucets and drawer-style storage and drawer style appliances (such as dishwashers).
- Hallways should be a minimum of 36 inches wide to be accessible. It’s also recommended that they are well-lit. Adequate lighting decreases the chance of accidents, especially during the night. Motion-controlled light switches are ideal.
- Light switches should also be in the 44 to 48 inch height range to be easily accessible from a seated position.
- An accessible apartment should have doors with a minimum clear width of 32 inches.
- Try looking for an apartment on the first floor or look for an apartment community with elevators. In case you’re looking to rent a townhome, orient yourself towards a home with a first-floor bedroom for minimum mobility challenges.
- Even if your community doesn’t require renter’s insurance, do get a policy. For as little as 50 cents a day you can insure all your possessions against theft, vandalism, fire, windstorms, accidental injuries of guests at your residence, even additional living expenses, should you be forced to temporarily move out of your home as a result of a covered loss.