Your home should be your unique haven where you can relax, enjoy time with your family, and feel safe. But as you age, your home can sometimes become an obstacle to your independence. Since aging comes with many changes, it’s essential to make some adjustments in your home to ensure your safety and comfort as you age.
If you’re a senior looking forward to age in place, make sure to consider the following when making home improvements:
As you age, it becomes more challenging to get around. In the United States, falls are the leading cause of injury and death for older adults (age 65+). Every day, an average of one older adult suffers a fall every second.
So, if you’re planning to age in place, find ways to make your home more accessible. Consider your unique needs when completing any home improvement.
For example, if you have trouble walking, you might want to install a ramp or grab bars in your bathroom. You might want to get a doorbell with a flashing light if you have difficulty hearing. These are just some ways to make your home more accessible and safer for yourself as you age.
Comfort and Convenience
As you age, your home should provide comfort and convenience. You want to relax in your own space without feeling like you have to make a lot of effort to get around.
For instance, you can consider installing a stair lift or an elevator if you live in a multi-story home. This way, you won’t struggle going up and down the stairs daily. You can also add features that make everyday tasks more convenient, such as a walk-in shower or automatic light switches.
If you have the budget, consider projects that can improve your home’s energy efficiency. This will make your home more comfortable and help you save on energy costs in the long run. Think of smart thermostats, additional insulation, and energy-efficient windows.
Safety and Security
Many seniors are victims of crime, whether it’s through physical violence or theft. Reports show that seniors were more likely to be victims of a violent crime near or in their own homes than victims under age 65.
So, if you want to age in place safely, it’s crucial to make your home as safe and secure as possible. You can start by installing strong locks on all your doors and windows. You can also get a security system for additional peace of mind.
Some home improvements can make your home safer in case of an emergency. For instance, you can install a smoke or carbon monoxide detector. You can also get a medical alert system to quickly call for help in case you need it.
As a homeowner, you must keep up with routine maintenance to avoid any costly repairs down the line. However, your regular maintenance tasks might become more difficult to handle as you age.
You may no longer be able to carry out heavy tasks like shoveling snow or mowing the lawn. Your eyesight might not be as sharp, making it harder to spot small repairs that need to be made. Even remembering when to change your air filters or checking your smoke detectors might become a challenge.
Fortunately, there are ways to make maintaining your home easier as you age. You can hire someone to help with the heavy lifting or set up an automatic delivery service for your air filters. You can also sign up for a home maintenance subscription that will send you reminders for tasks that need to be done.
You can also consider making changes to your home to make it easier to maintain. Think of installing low-maintenance flooring or adding more storage space. Doing so will help reduce the amount of work you need around your home and make it easier to keep up with your regular maintenance tasks.
Financing Home Improvements
Making all these home improvements can be expensive. Luckily, there are several ways you can finance your projects.
You can start by tapping into your home equity. If you have paid off most of your mortgage, you likely have some equity built up in your home. You can use this equity to finance your home improvements by taking out a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit.
If you don’t have much equity in your home, you can still get a loan to finance your projects. Several home loans are specifically designed for seniors, such as reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a loan that lets you borrow against the equity in your home. You don’t have to give money back for the loan unless you sell your house or pass away.
If you plan on tapping your home equity or applying for a reverse mortgage, make sure you do enough research. Find a reliable mortgage lender who understands your situation, offers different mortgage types and considers your unique needs and situation when recommending a mortgage. The right one will have years of experience, provide excellent customer service, and have a good reputation in the industry.
You can also look into grants and rebates to help offset the cost of your home improvements. The government offers several programs to help seniors pay for energy-efficient home upgrades. Many private organizations offer grants for seniors making home improvements. The trick is researching and applying for as many grants and rebates as possible to help finance your projects.
Making your home safe and easy to maintain is crucial if you want to age in place. By considering these tips, you can make the necessary changes to your home and have peace of mind knowing that your home is a safe and comfortable place for you to live.