Renovations to Make In Your Home For Your Golden Years

Renovations to Make In Your Home For Your Golden Years
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    It is not uncommon for retirees to downsize into a retirement home.

    Some even choose to buy something smaller that requires less maintenance, like a condo or townhouse.


However, many retirees also want to stay in their existing home. After all, it’s home to them with all its mementos and abiding memories; its more than just a house.

In order to ensure a house remains a forever home, it’s best to begin considering senior-friendly renovations early. Before renovating, think ahead carefully and plan for what your elderly loved ones might need in the future, even if they don’t need them now.

The following are some of the top senior friendly renovations to consider.

Grab Bars

bath handles

Flickr Image by Nancy Hugo

You see these in handicap stalls in public restrooms all the time, and they can be a very smart addition to your home. Even if you are not disabled, they can assist you in sitting or standing when you need the extra help. They can help prevent injury or even death from slips and falls, which you are more prone to as you age. They are relatively inexpensive to install in a home.

Lever Handles

With regular doorknobs, you need to be able to grip and twist them. Installing lever handles on doors does away with this, as well as makes them easier to reach and open from a wheelchair or other mobile device. Like grab bars, they are relatively inexpensive to install but can be a huge help as your mobility begins to decrease.

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PICS: kitchen accessories and appliances

Remodel the Kitchen

There are a couple of areas in the kitchen that can be renovated to make living in the home as a senior easier. Lowering countertops can keep them accessible. Switching to under the counter cabinets will ensure you will still be able to get to them in a decade or so. Tall or overhead cabinets should be removed because the risk of falling while reaching for something or standing on a stool is too high. An island that is movable is a good investment to make because it can be shifted out of the way for better wheelchair access while still allowing you more counter space.

Widen Doorways

Widening doorways accommodates mobility devices, whether wheelchairs or walkers. The contractor will have to remove the existing door frame and put in a new one. Electrical wiring might also need to be replaced if there is a switch or outlet too close to the door.

Wheelchair Ramps

Even a step or two up to the door in your garage can prove a problem. Installing ramps instead of stairs will prevent this from becoming an obstacle if you eventually need to be in a wheelchair, or use a cane or a walker. In some cases, a ramp might be installed over existing stairs. In other cases, the stairs can be replaced with a ramp entirely.

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Walk-In Showers

Removing a bathtub/shower combination and replacing it with a walk-in shower is a renovation to consider. Making this upgrade eliminates the need to step over the side of a tub to get in or out of the shower, which reduces slip and fall risk. Installing a hose and sprayer as well as a bench in the shower can also improve ease of access.

Chair Lift

stair chairlift

Flickr Image by michealmiller1

If your home has stairs, a motorized chair lift can allow you to remain living in the home even when you can no longer climb the stairs. It’s a renovation to save up for – they cost around $3,000 to $4,000 on average.

Small, Handy Items

Rubber or plastic mats in the shower can help prevent slips and falls, and are a very simple thing to buy and add to a home. Coupled with grab bars, they can make bathing much easier and safer.

other bath safety hardware

Another item that can be helpful to have on hand are raised toilet seats. These make it easier to sit down and stand back up again when using the toilet.

Night lights along hallways, in rooms, in bathrooms or anywhere else that is commonly trafficked at night can help you keep your footing as well. Medical clinicians can evaluate your current level of mobility and suggest what you should seriously consider using.

Do not worry about the value of your home decreasing after these senior friendly renovations. Because people are living longer on average, there is and will continue to be demand for age-in-place fixtures in homes. While Medicare and private insurance usually won’t cover home renovations, they do cover some medical equipment that needs to be installed in your home, so it’s worth looking to see if what you need is covered.

It is very understandable why the vast majority of retirees want to remain in their existing homes. Independence can be preserved for longer if the right upgrades are made and loss of mobility is prepared for in advance.

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