Retirement is a major event in our life. You may already be contemplating what life will be like after you retire. It sounds exciting, but also nerve-racking. The main factors to consider may include lifestyle changes, finances, and healthcare.
However, there is one aspect that is often overlooked: Home
Home modification is also an important part of retirement planning. It determines how much you will enjoy your retirement years and can save you so much trouble in the future. Some people think that they can simply deal with renovations when the need arises. But, this can cost a person more in terms of safety and security, expenses, time, and energy.
Here are some of the things you can consider to make your home retirement ready:
Entrances, Pathways, and Stairs
Cracked, uneven, or wobbly stairs spell danger. Repair them immediately, and make sure they are well-maintained.
Install handrails for added precaution, balance, and support.
Ramps will also help with wheelchair accessibility.
Pathways should also have high-traction surfaces to avoid slips, especially during the rainy season.
The living room should be free of clutter, accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices, and offers a wide space.
Tuck away cords and cables to avoid accidents.
Make cooking safer and more convenient by outfitting your kitchen with ergonomic kitchen gadgets and easy-to-use utensils.
Shelves and drawers should be within reach to avoid falls.
Countertops should have a different shade or color from cabinets. This can help when eyesight gets weaker and it becomes harder to spot things. When a wheelchair is used, professionals advise adjusting the height of the counter or sink to about 30 inches to make it easier to work from a seated position.
Grab bars are your best friend in terms of bathroom safety. A properly installed grab bar can do you wonders and solve most of the common problems you may encounter such as slips and falls. It also provides support when getting in and out of the tub, shower, or toilet.
Use raised toilet seats with arms to reduce the distance and the force it takes to sit and stand while providing greater stability and relief.
Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower as it allows for easier and safer entry and exit. If you plan to use a bathtub, a walk-in bathtub is a more suitable option for better accessibility and convenience.
Whenever possible, bed and bath are best situated on the first floor for better access.
Bed rails are also an ideal addition to the bed. They provide leverage and support when getting in and out of bed. It also reduces fall risk and adds to security.
Avoid bed skirts or oversized comforters as these extra materials can become tripping hazards.
Ample space is important in garage modifications. The National Association of Home Builders suggests at least five feet allowance between the door of the car and the wall. This can help you get in and out of the car and into a wheelchair.
If there are stairs to the garage, install handrails on both sides.
Doors and Doorknobs
Arthritis is one of the most common struggles in aging. This makes it hard to grip and turn knobs. Replacing doorknobs with levers will make simple tasks like opening and closing doors easier and more comfortable. Widening the doorways is also a good idea for easier navigation around the home.
Make sure every part of the house is well-lit and install automatic night lights. These little modifications can compensate for weakening senses and allow safer navigation.
Alarms and security
Invest in smart gadgets and alert systems. Home monitoring systems are supervised by professionals and can be useful especially if you live alone. There are also medical alarms that allow its user to call for help simply by pressing a button.
Opt for non-skid flooring materials to avoid slips and falls.
Mats and Rugs
Replace throw rugs with non-slip mats, or place rug pads or gripper strips at the bottom of your rugs. Better yet, remove them all together.
Aging in place is one of the sweetest gifts we can give to ourselves or to our loved ones. Being proactive in modifying our home for this purpose will help us live a more independent and satisfying life. Aim for a higher quality lifestyle, make your home retirement-ready!