For most of us, our homes represent the largest single investment we will ever make. As we look towards retirement, making sure that our homes provide a good return on our investment is smart planning. This is true not only from a financial perspective but also in the sense that our homes will provide a safe and comfortable environment for us to live out our lives. A home that is full of fall hazards and impairments to mobility is like a ticking time bomb which could go off at any minute, shattering our independence. As you plan for retirement, I suggest that you spend as much effort on preparing your home to be a home for life as you do on laying a good financial footing to fund your retirement years.
What features should you look for in a safe, comfortable, and beautiful retirement home? First and foremost, it should be a home we enjoy living in and feel relaxed in. For many of us, this is the home we currently live in, which is exactly why we live there. There should be at least one, and preferably more, zero step entries. Anyone, including people who use a wheelchair or walker, can enter the home easily. Hallways and doorways throughout the home should be wide enough to allow passage in a wheelchair or walker, Three foot wide doorways and four foot wide hallways are generally considered optimum. The next area I recommend taking a good hard look at is the bathroom. Many falls occur in the bathroom, and falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults. An open floor plan bathroom with a curbless shower, comfort height commode, and plenty of grab bars can go along ways toward promoting safety and be quite luxurious to boot. The spacious open feel of a custom curbless shower lends a spa like feel to an accessible bathroom, while the fold up seat and grab bars make it safe and comfortable.
Throughout the home, provide non slip flooring and bright glare free lighting. Make sure there are no trailing extension cords or clutter to trip over. It is also a good idea to have accessible walkways and a maintenance free exterior. These are just a few of the ideas that you might consider as you look over your house with an eye on creating a home for life. For a more complete set of checklists or a comprehensive home assessment, contact Senior Remodeling Experts at (540) 384-2064. We have the knowledge and expertise to recommend accessibility solutions that will go a long toward ensuring that you will be able to live safely and comfortably in the home that you love for many years to come. Please let us know if we can be of service to you and thank you for reading Housing Matters.
Solid Rock has written many articles for Housing Matters, including subject matter for Retirement, Enjoying the Outdoors and Aging In Place. Please visit our Housing Matters Index of articles here.