While retirement villages are definitely becoming more popular, there are still a lot of older people who want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Most homes are purchased with the view that they can grow and adapt to the life stage of the inhabitants. However, adapting your home to get it ready for your old age can be tricky. This is because there are a number of considerations to make, including reduced mobility, a decline in the different senses and simple accessibility too. Keep reading to learn more.
First things first, if your home is larger, then you need to think realistically about whether or not you will be able to manage that home as you get older. Some people simply do not want to go through the upheaval that moving represents, and this is fine if you are willing to consider home help or rejigging the existing layout of your property to make sure it suits your needs. However, downsizing may also be beneficial.
If you choose to downsize into a smaller property, then you can ensure that it is geared towards your needs as you get older. For most people, this will mean a smaller, single-storey property. This is because there will obviously be less housework to keep up with and the lack of stairs ensures that mobility issues won’t cause as much of a concern. The location of the property will also be important. You could choose to move to somewhere that is more accessible for relatives or has better public transport links to ensure that you are still able to get out and about.
Lastly, if you downsize, you are also likely to free up some cash from the sale of your home; downsizing, by its very nature, means moving into a smaller, cheaper property. There will ideally be a profit that you could then put towards home help, a care home in the future or even renovating or purchasing equipment to make your life easier. The ongoing costs are also likely to be cheaper in a smaller property too.
The Inside Of Your Home
Regardless of whether you choose to stay in your current home or downsize, the time may still come when you need to renovate your property to accommodate your needs as you get older. The interior of the property is likely to need significantly more work than the exterior – because this is, of course, where you will be spending most of your time. For the most part, any interior work carried out will simply be designed to improve the accessibility of your home to make it easier for you to manoeuvre.
You need to ensure that you are going to be able to get around your home easily enough. As you get older, you are likely to experience a change in your mobility in one way or another. A lot of older adults tend to need walking aids or even a wheelchair. It is worth measuring the doorframes of your home as well as any corridors or hallways to see whether or not you would be able to comfortably fit down them using your walking aids. If not, they might need widening.
If you don’t need mobility aids as of yet or you are simply looking for a cheaper alternative, then dado rails are an excellent option. They are a stylish feature that is incredibly functional too. They are also often cheaper to install, costing less than it would cost to widen the hallways or doorways. It also makes sense to think about the flooring in your home. Some types of flooring present more of a slip-and-trip hazard than others. Take up floor coverings and always repair broken floor tiles, et cetera.
You will also need to consider the size of your home too. Bigger homes are going to require more housework and chores, which can pose a challenge as you get older. If you have chosen to downsize to a bungalow, then it is likely to be easier for you to get around. On the other hand, if your home has more than one storey, you could either choose to have a stair lift installed to help you to access the upper floor, or you could choose to move your bedroom downstairs and limit your need to go upstairs.
While all of the above represents general advice for your home, there are a few rooms which require more thought because they do pose more risks to your safety as you get older. Arguably, the bathroom will need the most adapting. Slippery surfaces are always going to pose a hazard, especially for people with mobility issues. Some people opt to remove their baths and have a shower installed instead, but there are always shower seats, seated baths, railings, or you could even have a wet room installed. Other handy equipment for your home could include magnifying glasses to make it easier to read or see things. You might also need motorised chairs or beds that make it easier for you to get up, which you can find from the NHC group.
The Outside Of Your Home
Next up, you need to think about how you can make the outside of your home safer. Again, it is all about improving the accessibility of your home. Often, one of the biggest things to affect older adults is loneliness. This is because as your mobility is reduced, it is harder to get in and out of your home safely as well as navigate the outside world. There are, of course, mobility aids like walking sticks or motorised scooters that can help you to get out into your local community. You can also use taxis or take advantage of free bus passes.
However, the point becomes moot if you struggle to get in and out of your home safely. Motion sensor lights can help; they turn on when sensing movement in low light to improve visibility outside your home. In the summer months, this tends to be less of an issue; however, during the autumn and winter months, when daylight hours are heavily reduced, these will be particularly advantageous. In addition to being useful for you, they will also help guests, and they can also help to deter criminal activity and make your home more secure.
If your property is relatively flat, then you might not need to bother with any additional items designed to help you get in or out. However, if you have steps leading down or up to your front door, then a railing also makes sense. You could even choose to have a ramp installed if the steps are becoming more difficult for you to manage. Hiring a gardener to look after your garden can also help. It ensures that your garden is looked after and less hazardous if you still like to get out to enjoy it whilst ensuring that you are not the one that has to go out and perform those chores.
Getting older is unavoidable, and just because you don’t want to think about it or feel that it is a ways off yet doesn’t mean that it won’t sneak up on you. Putting off making these adjustments until you need them is poor planning. Instead, it is worth thinking about implementing them in advance so that they are already in place when you do need them. It also makes sense financially for you to have these adjustments or renovations carried out over time to ensure that the financial hit that you take is spread out over time as opposed to all in one go.