Aging In Place: How Seniors Can Tackle Home Modifications

Aging In Place: How Seniors Can Tackle Home Modifications

Photo via Pixabay by Silviarita

Guest Blogger Claire Wentz

For many seniors, finding a way to live at home for as long as possible is important, as it not only allows for comfort but also independence. It can be difficult to face moving into an assisted living facility or living with a family member; there may be fear of the unknown, anxiety, stress, and even guilt associated with either of these. Not only that, it’s important for many seniors to retain their own space, their own belongings, and their own sense of self.

 

Staying in your own home after retirement may mean making some changes, however. Making sure your environment is safe and comfortable is a priority, which means you might have to rethink the way your home is laid out or decorated. Making home modifications runs the gamut from simple and inexpensive to complicated and costly, so it’s important to do some research before making any decisions.

Here are a few tips on how to get started.

Take stock of the situation

 Before making any decisions, it’s important to take a look around your current home to see where changes can be made. Think about your needs at the present time and consider what they’ll be in the future; you may be in good health now, but ten years from now, if you have mobility issues, will your home still work for you? Talk to your partner and do a walk-through of your home to suss out any potential issues.

Downsize

If your home doesn’t meet your perceived needs, it may be time to think about downsizing. Moving is a big job, but making the move to a smaller home can help keep you safe and will mean less work for you in the long run. A bigger house equals more to clean and take care of, and many seniors find it helpful to live in a home that doesn’t have as much square footage to traverse each day. Look for listings in your area to find out what the average price is for a home and to see whether you can find one that already has the modifications you need. The median price for a house in Evanston, IL is $379,900; for more info, click here.

Start small

If you do decide to stay in your current home, it’s important to start small with modifications so as not to become overwhelmed. This might mean making changes to the bathroom and kitchen–where most accidents happen for seniors–such as installing a shower seat and grab bar, adding more lighting, and making cabinets and doors more accessible by installing easy-to-grip levers or handles. Once you’ve made the small improvements, it’s time to move on to the bigger things.

Look for funding

Many seniors are eligible for funding to help defray the cost of home modifications; look online to see if your state or city offers assistance for these changes, or start here. If not, you may qualify for a loan that will help offset the cost. Talk to a contractor and/or real estate agent for tips on how much you can expect to spend.

Aging In Place: How Seniors Can Tackle Home Modifications

Deciding whether it’s safe–and cost-effective–to age-in-place can be complicated, so talk to your family members to get their input before making any decisions. Remember to do some research on pricing and consider making a budget so you’ll be well prepared. With a good plan and some assistance from friends, professionals, and loved ones, you can create a home that will keep you safe and comfortable well into your retirement years.