We’ll try to describe retirement in one word: options.
Retirement is not a one size fits all deal. You have infinite options to build a retirement lifestyle that aligns with your vision and values.
You might want to sell your house and rent an RV to travel the US or maybe you want to downsize in an ideal beach town or perhaps you want to stay in the home where you’ve raised your children, built your life, and established roots. Again, you have options.
Aging in place is a common ideal for many retirees. According to a recent survey, 90% of seniors intended on remaining in their homes over the next decade. Among these 85% were certain that they would be confident remaining in their home if it had a few modifications.
Do you know what modifications would help make your home safe and comfortable for you to age in place?
*Let’s take a look at some options.
Add Ramps To Entrances And Exits
As you age, you may need a walker or wheelchair, which takes stairs out of the equation. To make it easier to get in and out of your house, you should consider adding ADA-accessible entryways.
If your house has stairs, do your best to keep all your day-to-day living on the first floor to avoid potential fall hazards. Stairs can be hard on your knees and back and can be a recipe for disaster. If it’s not possible to only live on one floor, consider installing an elevator stairlift.
It can cost about $2,500 to add ramps to entrances and exits and between $2,000-$5,000 to install a stairlift depending on how many stairs are in your home. Construction in your home can add up quickly, so it’s important to start planning and saving early on.
Widen Doorways To Accommodate Medical Equipment
Narrow hallways might become a thing of the past as you consider functionality for aging in place. Whether you use a walker, wheelchair, or you just want some more room to bring in the groceries, widening doorways is proven to be extremely helpful.
It’s not a cheap project—widening a doorway can cost anywhere from $300-$2,500. Perhaps just widen the entrances you use most often such as your front door, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.
Install Handles In Bathrooms
Bathrooms by design are a big fall hazard for many people. They are usually fairly narrow and damp making it easy to lose your footing, slip, fall, and really injure yourself.
To avoid falls, install handles near the water closet and the shower so there is a stable surface to grab. It’s also important that the sink, toilet, and shower are accessible to all heights and mobility levels.
According to the ADA, it costs about $9,000 to make a bathroom accessible and we can tell you that your bathroom is not the place to skimp out on.
Beef Up Security
Is your neighborhood just as safe as when you moved in? As the years go on, perhaps there has been more crime in surrounding areas. If this is the case, it’s best to install a home security system if you don’t have one already. Break-ins aren’t the only reason to have a security system. It’s also helpful for other safety areas like excess water in flooding zones, entry and exit sensors, and cameras.
The cost of home security systems varies depending on installation and equipment needed, but you can expect to pay about $35 a month. Be sure to shop around and understand the differences between each security system you consider. If you’re going to spend the extra money for safety, you’ll want to make sure everything you want is covered.
Create An Emergency Plan
Whether you’re living alone or with a spouse, you should each have an emergency plan. Unexpected things happen—we trip, we fall, we accidentally cut ourselves—it’s human nature. And if you don’t have children or family nearby, you’ll want something to ensure your health and safety.
There are several medical alert systems that you can install in your home to receive medical help at the touch of a button. These include Life Alert, Bay Alarm Medical, Mobile Health, and Medical Alert. These emergency devices are often wearable so if you fall, you don’t have to worry about finding your phone, help is right there with you.
Find Assistance For Routine Maintenance
As you age, you won’t be climbing ladders to clean your gutters, cutting grass on your hilly yard, or even deep cleaning your house. Make a plan to bring in the appropriate assistance for routine maintenance whether that means home caregivers, family members, friends, a combo, whatever makes sense for your lifestyle.
If you go the home care route, the cost can be a little intimidating and averages out at $4,300 per month. However, the cost varies greatly depending on the services you need, you may be able to find some kids in the neighborhood looking to make some extra cash by mowing lawns or cleaning gutters! Take inventory of the help you’ll potentially need and plan from there.
Age In Place Safely
If you want to stay in your home throughout retirement, be sure that you prioritize your safety. Building a plan from the onset will help you and your loved ones prepare both emotionally and financially. There’s no doubt that this is a big financial undertaking, so make improvements or fixes one step at a time.
If you want to learn how to account for age-in-place-friendly updates in your retirement budget, give our team at Step by Step a call.
*Consult with your doctor/family before making any decisions on where to live in retirement.