The term “aging in place” describes seniors’ ability to live independently in their homes for as long as possible. According to the Federal, Provincial, Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors Forum, “A key step in planning for independence is assessing your home to determine if it can meet your changing needs as you age”. Here are some renovation tips for aging in place.
Renovation Tips for Aging in Place
Firstly, talk with family members about your long-term living preferences. Do you want to downsize to a smaller single-family home, or do you plan to stay put in your traditional family home?
Secondly, take a look at your finances and retirement funds. With your current savings and assets, will you be able to pay for home maintenance? Consider starting a separate retirement savings account strictly for home maintenance.
Remember, it’s best to remodel your home before your mobility becomes limited. As you age, changes in mobility, hearing, vision, flexibility and overall health affect how easily you function in your home. Therefore, consider making your home “age-friendly” as a phased-in and budgeted home improvement. This is far better than waiting until you need many modifications, all at once, due to a sudden health crisis.
It’s best to decide if you want to live in your current home for the remainder of your life before you retire. Therefore, while you still have a healthy income, you can consider paying for “big ticket – long life” home projects. For instance, such projects may include the following.
When Planning for Aging in Place, Consider Paying for “big ticket – long life” Home Projects Before You Retire
- Get the roof assessed or replaced.
- Replace and upgrade the water heater or cooling unit.
- Completing termite inspections and treatment.
- Get a septic tank inspection and replacement, as needed.
- Purchase a riding lawn mower.
Finally, hire a qualified renovation consultant to inspect your home. They will determine if it can meet your changing needs as you age. Renovation consultants may recommend corrections and adaptations to your home to improve maneuverability, accessibility, and safety for elderly occupants. For example, a low-maintenance exterior, wide and well-lit hallways, adequate handrails and non-slip flooring, to name a few.
In short, when thinking about aging in place, it’s best to be proactive and plan for your future today. Most seniors leave their homes due to functional and mobility limitations that result from medical crises, and an inability to pay for support to stay with them in their home. Effectively managing health risks and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you stay strong, age well, and live long in your own home.
Produced by Baker Street Home Inspection Services Inc. and RenoLogic.
Baker Street Home Inspection Services Inc. has been in business since 1985, conducting over 50,000 home inspections. RenoLogic offers homeowners impartial, expert advice on their home renovations and repairs.
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