Now that you have reached your long awaited years of retirement, there are a few modifications you may find you would like to make. One of those modifications is adjusting your home to fit this new phase in your life. There are a few things you can do to adjust elements in your home to make yourself, your spouse, and your family members more comfortable regardless of age or ability. Here are a few ways you can modify your home to fit your new retirement lifestyle.
Kitchen and Laundry
Invest in a few appliances that are friendly to all stages of life, like side-by-side refrigerators and raised front-loading dishwashers, washers, and dryers. Replace hard-to-grasp cabinet drawer and door knobs with easy-to-grasp handles or D-shaped cabinet pulls. Replace limited-open hinges with hinges that allow for at least 170 degrees of access.
Switch out all doorknobs and faucet-knobs in the home to lever-style handles for easier use. Select furniture with rounded corners rather than sharp ones. Choose large rugs with non-slip backing over small and slippery rugs.
Lighting and Electrical
If possible, have your electrician build your light switches about 42 inches above the floor for easy reachability. Choose lighting that specifically directs to a particular area where you frequently read or work. Use automatic on and off nightlights to line the hallways to avoid middle of the night falls.
For seniors, there is a significant risk of slipping or falling in the bathroom. Use anti-slip rugs on bathroom floors and place non-slip mats on shower and tub floors. Attach grab bars on areas around the toilet and shower where you feel they may be needed.
If you are willing to, replace low toilets to a higher raised and elevated toilet. A toilet that sits 17 inches above the floor will be much easier to use than the standard 14 inches. If you’d rather have a less expensive solution, purchase a toilet seat that raises the height of your toilet.
If you have a two-story home and the bedrooms are upstairs, consider relocating them downstairs. Ensure all beds in the home are no higher than 22 inches from the floor, which will provide for an easy entry and exit from the top of the bed. Set up a telephone on the nightstand next to every bed in the home, and check that all lines work at all times.
Entrances and Pathways
If you can, make sure your home has at least one no-step entryway, either at the front door, the back door, or through the garage door. If there are steps, build a sturdy ramp over it to allow easy access for anyone who uses a wheelchair or has difficulty climbing steps.
You could also build a covering above entryways, to protect your family and yourself from rain and other weather conditions. If someone in your family experiences slowed mobility, or if they no longer drive themselves, then this may ease the stress of entering and exiting the home or waiting outside for transportation.
These are just a few ways you can modify your home to fit your retirement. Implementing even a few of these elements into your home will do wonders and make life more simple and efficient in your retirement years. With your new home modifications, you will find yourself breezing right through a wonderfully relaxing retirement life.
“What is Universal Design?” AARP.org. AARP. 30 Sept. 2009. Web. 14 Oct 2014. http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/home-improvement/info-09-2009/what_is_universal_design.html
“Checklists.” LivableHomes.com. Shared Solutions America. ND. Web. 14 Oct 2014. http://www.livablehomes.org/checklist.html