1. Make sure the main entrance and at least one other exterior passage are accessible to everyone. They should have no steps and thresholds that are no more than 1/2 inch high.
2. Entering with packages and other items can be difficult, so include a covered entry and provide a shelf or bench both inside and outside the door. Provide a clear, level space on both sides of the door.
3. A motion detector can ensure that the entry is lighted when you arrive home. For convenience and peace of mind, install a home-automation system, including an intercom system that is linked to the front entry.
4. Equip the entry door and other doors with easy-to-use levers instead of knobs. Electronic locksets can replace keys for entry doors.
5. Thinking of adding a powder room on the first floor? Consider a full bath instead. If all bedrooms are upstairs, a full bath on the main level allows you to convert a den or other main-level space to a bedroom later. "That way, you can have one-floor living if you need it," says Charlotte Wade, director of the National Center for Seniors Housing Project.
Continued on page 2: What to Know: 6-10