With the number of affordable housing seemingly on the rise everywhere in the country, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that many people are now choosing to age in place. Many homes, however, do not have the necessary accessibility features for seniors. After retirement, we can all expect healthcare-related costs to take up a sizeable chunk of our expenses, leaving little to spare for a home renovation. So here are some home improvements you can do now to make living arrangements more suitable for your golden years.
Adjust for limited mobility
As our bodies age, we tend to slow down and lose a certain degree of strength and coordination in our movements. This effect may vary across individuals, but it becomes more pronounced among the elderly. Even a threshold of one inch or less can make mobility difficult for individuals who use wheelchairs or present a greater risk of slips and falls.
Homeowners in Salt Lake City preparing for retirement would do well to undertake bathroom renovation and create a no-threshold, walk-in shower where the water drains via a gentle slope. Guard rails or safety bars also help.
Widening doors, if possible, can make a home more accessible to seniors using a walker or wheelchair. The second floor should see less use for safety reasons, but if necessary, stairs can be improved through widening, better handrails on both sides, and deeper treads. Less slippery flooring can also make a big difference. Short-nap carpeting gives better traction while reducing the risk of injury.
Flood with lighting
Reduced vision is another common concern as people grow older. Our lenses become less flexible with age, and at 60, the retina may receive up to one-third of the light compared to at 20 years of age. It's also reported that nearly a quarter of people aged 65 and up suffer some form of visual impairment.
Today's adjustable, smart lighting fixtures are easy to use and let you control the amount of illumination to suit your needs. Using high-contrast colors in areas such as walkways or stairs can also boost safety. You may not need a lot of light now in your home, but having the option to flood rooms with light will make them more accessible in years to come.
Improve ease of use
When it comes to ease of use, the rising popularity of smart homes is one trend that you can adopt now and for the future. It isn't only convenient for homeowners of any age to control various appliances or features of their home through an app. But it's also a remarkable aid to accessibility for seniors. Having control over multiple functions of the house on a single device will eliminate physical and mental hurdles. You don't need to worry about reaching for a switch, bending to fiddle with controls, or trying to remember where you left that remote control. Your smart home is today's cool innovation that's also perfectly suited to tomorrow's needs.
Making improvements to your home that fall along these lines — and staying on the lookout for other possible upgrades to enable aging in place— will help you enjoy greater comfort and security in your retirement years.