Most seniors are staying in their homes as long as possible to maintain their independence and remain in the familiar surroundings they are used to. This means that many seniors are remodeling their homes to make them fit their needs instead of moving out. The best time to consider the changes your home will need is before retirement.
Some of the modifications that can be made to a home to make it retirement-friendly include the following:
Living On One Floor
Stairs are great when you're younger and can appreciate the exercise they provide but once you're older they can become a problem. Planning to live on a single floor during your golden years is one of the best decisions you can make. This can involve either moving to a condo or a bungalow or fixing up a two-story home to make it livable on one floor only.
If you have a two-story house and are approaching retirement you may want to consider having a master bedroom and a fully equipped washroom on the main floor. The upstairs bedrooms can be used as guestrooms for your adult children and their families when they return for visits.
The lighting in the bathroom should be bright and grab bars can be installed in strategic areas. You may also want to think about putting in a toilet seat that's raised. This can be a blessing for anyone that has a bad back or weak knees.
Doorways may need to be widened throughout the main floor to accommodate mobility walkers. Area rugs should be removed from the floors as the senior years start to set in since they can become an issue as well. Hallways should be well lit and you may also want to consider raising electrical outlets, installing levered doors and lowering any shelves that are difficult to reach.
In the Garage
Garages and carports can make loading and unloading easier and more comfortable in the winter and during inclement weather. Door heights should be at least nine feet to accommodate taller vehicles such as raised-roof vans. There should be an aisle at least five feet wide between the parked vehicle and the walls of the garage or other cars to accommodate lifts and other accessible devices used to get in and out of cars and vans. Many local codes require garage floors to be several inches lower than the main entrance to the home to prevent fumes from traveling indoors. A ramp with a handrail should be installed to accommodate the requirements while also making access to the house more comfortable.