Apr 11, 2021

Making Your Home Retirement Friendly

Unless purchasing a single story home in a retirement community, odds are pretty good that your home is not retirement friendly.   Certainly any two story home with the master bedroom and or other bedrooms upstairs is not the best living space for retired people, since stairs or steps of any kind are the enemy as people grow older.  Falling is the single biggest cause of serious injury for people over 65, so at all costs avoiding any circumstance that could cause a fall is critical.  

So, the first step in making your home retirement friendly might be to move from a two story home to a one story home.  If that is not possible, then if not already the case, making first floor the primary living space, would be the next best option.  That could involve some renovation to at least create a master bedroom and bath on the first floor along with a guest room and office if needed.  If none of this is possible, then putting in an elevator, or stair step so that actually using the stairs to get to the second floor will be come unnecessary. 

If the laundry is in the basement, it needs to come up or down to the living space.  Fortunately, with stackable washers and dryers, a closet can be converted to house both units.  Carrying laundry up or down stairs is not a good option.  This problem must be solved one way or another.  And, then there is bathing.  Old bathtubs can be converted to a shower with a sit down bench, which is much safer.  There are the walk in tubs that can also be installed in the space of an old bathtub if that is preferred.  Either way, the notion of climbing into a bath tub is dangerous.  Which ever option is selected, grab bars must be installed to allow for holding on when bathing.  

Making the kitchen easier to use is also something that should be done.  High cabinets that require a step stool to get to is a No No.  In fact, climbing on a ladder to do anything is a No No.  Again the chances of falling are too great.  Instead, dishes can be put in pull out drawers instead of overhead cabinets.  Glasses should never be higher than the first space in an overhead cabinet.  

Making an existing home retirement friendly just takes some good thinking.  It could be much cheaper than moving.  Most important, as we all grow older, living in a home that is retirement friendly is important to the quality of life.