Canadians who wish to age in place consider a main floor that is or can be converted to a single-story unit is essential. This means if the home is not one level, it must be able to accommodate a bedroom, full bathroom, laundry and kitchen all on one floor.
A Royal LePage survey discovered 43 per cent of respondents categorized this feature as essential, while 54 per cent marked it as desirable.
As Canadians age their housing priorities often change and no one size fits all. Not all seniors are looking for the same home features. What they do have in common is the desire to choose where and how they live. They do not want to have that decision made for them.
In addition, they are thinking about their long term needs much earlier than previous generations. Even before retirement, many buyers are thinking about the features of a home that will help them transition into old age with ease.
Age in Place Renovations
When renovating or shopping for a new home this demographic has some specific needs. Of great importance are entrances to the front and rear of the property without steps. A walk-in tub or shower with a wide entrance and non-slip flooring are also considered to be of great value.
Safety and comfort are key considerations. Although they may not need a walker or a wheelchair now, they might someday. If the plan is to stay in their current home longer, it will need to accommodate these potential eventualities.
As happens, many middle-aged people surveyed have seen their elderly parents go through such a transition. That has encouraged them to consider their own needs for the future.
The lowest on the priority list for buyers at the time of purchase are:
- a whirlpool tub, 16% desirable, 84% not necessary
- lowered countertops and cabinets, 3% essential, 46% desirable, 51% not
- an outdoor wheelchair ramp, 6% essential, 46% desirable, 48% not
Important considerations for Canadian home buyers
Another very important consideration made by older Canadians looking for a home they can live in longer is buying close to family. In fact, for 94%, buying close to family is top of mind for this demographic. Also top of mind for 88% is buying close to a hospital and community services. Being able to walk to near-by stores and restaurants counts for 86%. The benefits of living in a condominium stands out for 84%. When asked if buying with family is an important factor, nearly two-thirds of those asked say no (65%). More and more, Canadians are choosing to make the right choices rather than down-size as they age.
Some mature buyers are looking for a turn-key condominium. They can spend less time on maintenance and more time traveling after retirement. Others may choose to move from a two-storey home to a rancher to avoid stairs as they age. Or yet others will opt for a multi-generational property that offers the ability to live with family. Another choice is to renovate their existing properties to accommodate their changing needs. As many as 52 per cent of Canadian boomers would prefer to renovate their current homes rather than move, according to the consumer survey.
Seventy-four per cent of respondents say older Canadians are increasingly interested in aging in place. This is due to concerns over the high financial cost of living in senior care facilities. Meanwhile, 59 per cent say the reason is in part due to concerns over the safety of senior care facilities, highlighted during the pandemic.
● 43% of survey respondents say a fully-equipped main-floor living space is
essential for seniors planning to age in place
● 42% of respondents say a front and rear entrance with no steps and a walk-in
tub are essential
● Almost all surveyed (94%) say purchasing a home close to family is top of
mind for this buyer demographic
● Canadians are more concerned about the high financial cost of living in senior
care facilities than safety