A home is a big investment, and sometimes it’s a better financial decision to continue to live in your home as you age rather than choosing to sell your property and move into an apartment. However, houses aren’t necessarily built for senior living on their own. It’s up to you to make the updates necessary to make aging at home that much easier. Here are a few ways you can prepare your home for your graying years.
Create An Estate Plan First
Before you begin updating your property to make it easier to age in place, it’s a good idea to talk to an estate planning lawyer first. Estate planning lawyers can help you determine which projects will not only help you age comfortably in your own home but also which projects will increase the value of your property and how that increase in value will impact your family in the event of your passing.
Creating an estate plan will allow you to make sure all of the “Ps” and “Qs” are met before the actual work begin. If you have the finances, you can retain an estate planning lawyer that will make sure all of the permits are in place to start construction. We understand that you may not want to involve lawyers in making your home age-proof, but they really can be a big help in making sure you don’t fall into any legal quagmires while you’re trying to fix up your home.
One thing that you can’t overlook during the estate planning process is how Medicare can actually function in how you age at home. You can talk to contractors and Medicare advisors who can advise you on the best ways you can update your home for aging in place should you need to use a home care service as you get older.
Remodel Your Shower for a Safer Bathing Experience
We don’t think much about the bathroom, but when you’re trying to age-proof your home, the bathroom is actually one of the more important areas of your home.
When you get older, it gets harder to take showers and baths. Up to 22% of the world’s population with being over 60 years of age by 2050, and you should ensure that your bathroom is a place for safe bathing. What will go a long way toward achieving this goal is remodeling your shower. Believe it or not, you use your shower more than your bathtub, so the shower should take on extra importance when you’re remodeling your bathroom.
Contract a contractor that specializes in shower remodeling services so that you can get a good price on a remodeled shower that will provide a safe and comfortable bathing experience the older you grow in your home.
Install Wider Doorways
When you get older, you find that the things that seemed easy-as-pie to do when you were younger are now tough to do.
That alone should necessitate remodeling your home so that it can be easier to navigate and maintain. We’ve already touched on the showers, now it’s time to widen the doorways. Having a wider doorway will become very important the older you get, especially if your mobilization is compromised. Having a wider doorway will allow you to get mobility aids in the doorway such as wheelchairs and walkers. That, in turn, will make it easy for you to access your home without needing a lot of assistance.
Get Some Help With Household Chores
While we’re young, we hate to do household chores. However, once you get older, you will wish that you had the mobility to do those chores.
No one has to tell the elderly just how hard it is to do basic chores around the house when you can’t move around as well as you like. This is why, as part of aging with your home, you should get help with household chores. Hire help with doing basic house cleaning or someone who can go grocery shopping for you. The older you get, the more your mobility will likely suffer, so you should plan ahead to needing to hire help to do the basic household chores, and tell your grandkids how lucky they have it to move as well as they do.
Put Ramps In The Home
If your mobility is falling by the wayside, it will make it much harder to move around your home the way you used to.
This is also a significant reason why it’s crucial to age-proof your home so that you can move around in nearly the same fashion as you did before your mobility began to slow. More-than-likely you’re going to need a mobility aid to help you around the house. As part of the renovation, you should get ramps installed in your home so that you can move your walker or wheelchair with ease. Make sure that the ramps at the front of your doorway are adjustable to the level you need them to be.
Install Carpeting And Other Non-Slip Flooring
We all love hardwood flooring. It’s easier to clean and it meshes better with the home than carpet will. However, that hardwood flooring that looks super cute in your home will turn against you when you get older.
We know, it will be hard for you to part with your hardwood flooring, but for the sake of age-proofing your home and making sure that it ages well with you, you should ditch the hardwood floors and install carpeting and another non-slip flooring in your home. The carpet will help keep you on a sturdy footing, and non-slip flooring is, just that, flooring that will allow you not to slip and fall (and you don’t want to slip and fall at an old age). Installing carpet and non-slip flooring should be a top priority in your home interior renovation plans. You need to feel safe moving around your home, and you can’t do that with hardwood floors that are prone to be slippery.
Do Kitchen Modifications That Include Appliance Upgrades
Aside from your bedroom and living room, you spend a lot of time in your kitchen. It’s a natural meeting space for everyone in your home.
You may feel as if you have your home set up nicely, but when you get older, the places that you put your appliances that you use on a daily basis are not practical anymore. Maybe the things you need in the kitchen are just too high, which can be an issue with cabinets and if you’re mobility challenged. As part of the retrofit of your home, you should do kitchen modifications so that things will be easier to find and get to. Modifications should also include upgrading your appliances so that you can use them easier and better. The whole idea of age-proofing your home is making sure that you can access your home even at an older age, and kitchen modifications can go a long way to achieving this goal.
Maybe the old way you set up your kitchen looks nice, but now it’s time to make it more functional so that it can age along with you.
Set Up A Lawn Maintenance Plan
Even when you get older and you get a bit mobility challenged, the grass is still going to grown, just like clockwork. The only difference is, you won’t be able to keep it maintained as easily as you did before.
Before mobility begins to turn against you and you can’t use your mower to cut the grass anymore, set up a lawn maintenance plan with a lawn care contractor that will be able to keep your yard looking pristine. A general contracting lawn care provider will be able to keep everything looking nice and clean for a reasonable rate.
Turn the Entryway Into a Safe Zone
As we touched on earlier in this article, entering a home can become a challenge for senior citizens, especially if they need mobility aid to move around.
As part of retrofitting your home, you should make sure that the entryway to your home is turned into a “senior safe zone” so that seniors can enter and exit the home with relative ease. As mentioned above, part of making the entry to your home a senior safe zone is making the doorway wider so that mobility aid items such as walkers can easily enter the home. Also, as part of a retrofit age-proofing of the home, make sure all the uneven and cracked areas of your walkway are repaired. Again, you don’t want your elders to trip and fall.
Also, as part of the entry process, make sure that you create a no-rise entry with ramps. These no-rise entryways will make it easier for senior citizens and those who mobility issues to get into the home. Creating a senior safe zone for entering the home will go a long way to making sure that your home is age-proof and ready for the test of time.
Set Up An Appliance Maintenance Plan
The older your home gets, the more it needs to be maintained.
Just because you get older doesn’t mean that the things that make your home go won’t age as gracefully as you will. The only difference is that, especially if you’re a “DIY” type of person, it can be hard to make the repairs needed on the home to keep it running in tip-top shape. This is why you need to set up an appliance maintenance plan so routine maintenance can still be performed in the home. Things still breakdown and cause issues, and it’s an even bigger issue when you get older.
Take the water heater for example, as this is an item that needs to be maintained in order to work properly. Make sure that the plan includes a replacement water heater so that you will be able to wash and cook using warm water. You don’t want your home to be without warm water, especially if you live in a cold-weather state. Having a maintenance plan will ensure that your home stays in aging-proof shape and that things won’t go wrong even when you can’t be around to fix them.
Manage Your Money
No matter how old your get, bills will still be a constant in your life.
In addition to your mortgage, there are also health bills that will need to be taken care of as well. When you get older, you should embrace the art of money management. Managing your money will help get you through tough times and will help prioritize your finances. Also, be aware of scam artists, who try their best to trick senior citizens out of their hard-earned money. Never, ever give out your social security and check and credit card numbers to anyone, and always dispute charges that you don’t recognize. Doing these things will go a long way in making sure your money works for you in your golden years.
In conclusion, making sure that your home age will with the years go a long way into assuring that you have a comfortable place to live for the rest of your days. There are many things you can do, even now, as a young, healthy adult, to age-proofing your home so that it can age along with you.
One of the prime ways to do this is by doing a renovation on your home. Make the kitchen more functional, and retrofit your showers so that you can have ease of access. Contract with a lawn care professional so that your yard can be maintained, and do the same for appliance contractors so that your appliances can be maintained. Last, and certainly not least, make sure that your money is managed properly so that you can embark on a retrofit and make sure that your home will age with you into your golden years.