These days, it seems like almost anywhere you go, the cost of living is steadily going up. Factor in a similar rise in prices on the housing market for most cities, and it’s no surprise that some people might decide to stay put and age in place. It’s a practical choice in the current climate. However, if you’re inclined to follow a similar path, keep in mind that once you retire, you may have less financial flexibility with which to make home improvements. Specific changes may be necessary to make your home more senior-friendly. Here are some upgrades you can start implementing ahead of time.
Reducing injury risk
Over time, we all experience some form of decline in our physical abilities. The elderly tend to have limited mobility, and their coordination and agility are also reduced. Tasks around the house that we can perform every day without a second thought may give rise to potential injury hazards as we age.
Frequent falls can be prevented with the right slip-resistant epoxy coating for your concrete floor and non-slip mats in place of the rugs you have lying around today. Installing a grab bar in slippery areas, such as the bathroom and ramps alongside (or replacing) stairs, will further lower the risk of accidents. And one thing you can start doing right now that won’t cost anything? Clear out the clutter; it will immediately make any home a better place to live in and eliminate obstacles in the future.
Selective design makeover
Minimizing the risk of injury in your home as you age in place can save medical expenses and, possibly, your life. On top of that, by considering a senior’s reduced physical capabilities, it’s possible to make changes to your home’s design, which will simply make everyday living more comfortable and convenient.
Small ergonomic details can make a difference. For instance, swapping out doorknobs for levers will reduce the required wrist rotation to open doors around the house each day. Overhead storage cabinets, especially in the kitchen, should be replaced with drawers under the countertop; this places less of a challenge on one’s strength and ability to balance.
If you can take on a bigger change, redoing the layout will let you place the most frequently used areas, such as the master bedroom and bathroom, close together on the ground floor. Thus, fewer trips up and down the stairs will be necessary.
Making accessibility improvements
Even if we remain physically fit, the passage of time can diminish our sensory perception. Improving the lighting around the house can make it more pleasant right away, but more importantly, it provides assistance to your eyes in your golden years. Motion-sensitive lights are convenient and provide an inherent safety mechanism when you go around the house at night. Hooking up various appliances to a smart home network will let you save effort and reduce energy costs in regulating the house through controls located on your mobile phone. While you’re at it, get comfortable with using voice controls to have your digital assistant of choice carry out various functions for you—it may be just a convenience for now but essential in the future.
Aging in place is a sensible choice these days, and by making these changes around your home now, you’ll be well-prepared for the years ahead without having to dip into your retirement funds.