As we age and start thinking about retirement, many of us can say we’d prefer to stay out of retirement communities and assisted living facilities for as long as possible. Ideally, we’d never have to move into one at all.
This is just one reason why aging in place, the custom of staying in your home as you age, is becoming increasingly popular. There are many benefits to aging in place. It can reduce the long-term costs associated with retirement and it can save you the stress of trying to find a low-rent apartment in today’s competitive market.
That being said, most homes aren’t naturally made for aging in place. It’s often necessary for changes to be made to a home in order to accommodate the progression of aging. This may require some degree of investment. But, in the long term, the cost is usually less than it would be to move to a retirement community or assisted living facility.
You may be interested in altering a home you already own or you might be thinking of downsizing and then making the necessary renovations on your new house. Let’s look into some of the ways you can prepare and alter your home in order to age in place gracefully.
1. Check Your Maintenance Needs
It’s crucial, when preparing to age in place, that your home is properly maintained. Practical problems in the home can become difficult to deal with as you get older because of reduced mobility and strength.
It’s for the best to look for homes that are new construction for this reason. Up to 85% of homes in the U.S. built before 1980 are in some need of repair and approximately 14,000 Americans experience water damage issues every day. That said, if you’re in the market for a new house, make sure that all the appliances and features of the home you’re looking at are new and in good shape.
2. Install Guardrails, Especially On The Deck
You’re at greater risk for slips, trips, and falls as you age not only because of reduced mobility but also because of reduced balance and coordination.
Well-placed guardrails are a great way to add safety features to your home to help prevent falls from happening. They also allow you to enjoy features around your home like a deck.
Just be sure that if you have guardrails installed that they’re installed correctly. According to OSHA regulations, guardrail openings can’t be more than 19 inches for the safety of everyone using them.
3. Adjust The Height Of Appliances
Everything needs to be more accessible as you age. It’s often easier for seniors to access everything from appliances to drawers when their height is adjusted.
Bending or crouching can cause injuries, and it’s simply smarter to place things like drawers and refrigerators within close grasp.
4. Renovate The Bathroom For Balance
It’s incredibly important for bathrooms to be updated for those planning to age in place. You’ll want to convert the shower so that it offers a bench, chair, or roll-in option. Look for homes that have walk-in showers. Bathtubs can be hazardous because of your reduced mobility and balance.
Another update option that should be considered is installing grab bars around the toilet. The bathroom is one of the most common places for falls to occur and it’s crucial to do what you can to prevent them.
By 2030, roughly 20% of Americans will be 65 or older, and many plan to age in place in their own homes. By following the tips above, you can make aging in place in your new or current home possible.