Where do you want to spend your retirement years? Most people these days are more interested in aging in place than moving into an assisted living facility. Not all homes are built to accommodate aging in place though.
If you want to live in your home in retirement but don’t have a retirement-friendly home, there are some things you can do to make it more accommodating.
Make It One Story
Stairs aren’t a big deal when you’re young. As you age, however, they present more of a challenge. Slips and falls are serious, especially for retirees. Making your home a one-story house can reduce your risk of slipping and falling on the stairs. Don’t worry if you have a two-story (or more) house–you don’t have to demolish it to make it work for you.
Make your home more retirement-friendly by ensuring that everything you need to live in your home is on one floor. Your main floor should have a minimum of a bedroom, full bath, and kitchen. Essential appliances like your thermostat, washer, and dryer, should also be easily accessible.
The more accessible your home is, the longer you can stay in it comfortably. It makes the option of receiving hospice care at home more viable. Receiving hospice care at home avoids the stress of a hospital stay.
Anticipate your needs as you age and take steps to improve your home’s accessibility accordingly. Add grab bars to your bathroom near the toilet, shower, and tub. If your shower has a threshold, modify it to a zero-threshold shower. Add shower seating to make it easier to practice good hygiene.
Open Things Up
It’s harder to get around when you get older. Many retirees rely on wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aids to get around. That’s tough to do if your doorways and hallways aren’t wide enough to accommodate them comfortably. Consider modifying your home to give it a more open floor plan. Most wheelchairs can fit through a 30” open space, so aim for doorways that are at least 32” across (doorways typically provide open space about 2” smaller than the size of the door). They also need about 5 feet to comfortably change direction. Take that into consideration when making any adjustments to your floor plan.
Aging in place is a highly-desired option for most people these days. You have to have a home that accommodates that choice if you want to do so safely though. If you want to live at home when you retire, take stock of what needs to be done to make your home more accommodating. That will help you decide which projects to prioritize and how to allocate your resources to make the biggest difference.
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