It might be 10 or 20 years before your retirement. However, you should start making changes to your home to make it senior-friendly. Everyone values independence, and no parent wants to be a burden to their kids. A few small changes to your home can make it safer and more convenient for your future self, allowing you to fully enjoy your retirement.
Nothing can take away your independence faster than a nasty fall. Slips and falls are one of the leading causes of injury and hospitalization in seniors. More than a third of retirees suffer from slips and falls every year, with most of them (80 percent) happening in the bathroom. Making changes to your home’s bathrooms can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Railings from the door to the toilet are essential.
You’ll make more than a few trips to the bathroom once you reach a certain age. Supports near or on the toilet make sitting down and getting up safer and easier, sparing your knees and avoiding balance issues from changing positions. If you have inklings of mobility problems in the future, opt for a wider door to accommodate wheelchairs. Normal showers and baths can be unsafe, so switch to a walk-in tub.
Visibility is essential to safety. Fumbling in the dark increases the risks of accidents, and the sudden brightness of lights turning on can cause bouts of temporary blindness and vertigo. Motion-detecting lights pose the same problems as sudden illumination can be startling. Lights that regularly turn on and off during specific times are a better option. You can purchase timers that attach to switches or smart switches that you can manipulate through your phone, Google Home, or Alexa.
Aside from safety, keeping your lights on a schedule also keeps your circadian rhythm in line, making it easier to sleep at night. A well-lighted home is useless with bad eyesight, so get your eyes checked regularly and get glasses if you need them.
Steps and sudden drops can lead to horrific falls. Level floors minimize the risk of losing one’s balance and allows easier movement inside the house. Mobility problems will require more drastic changes. Ramps will need to be installed where steps might hinder a wheelchair.
Light switches and other fixtures will need to be lowered so that they can be reached in a sitting position. The kitchen needs to be remodeled to allow wheelchairs to position underneath counters, and you’ll need expert cabinet makers for accessible cabinets. Making a home fully accessible won’t cost a lot of money. The remodels are popular in Salt Lake City, Miami, and other cities where seniors value independence.
In 10-20 years, expect electricity prices to skyrocket. The government is pushing green initiatives to meet stringent 2030 and 2050 goals of reducing carbon emissions to going full renewable. Power costs will undoubtedly rise as power companies adopt new technology and pass the cost to consumers. Generating electricity at home insulates you from high electricity costs. Surprisingly, solar power is more than just affordable.
Technological advancement and market forces have made it practically free. Most solar power systems pay for themselves in savings in 10-12 years. Solar companies guarantee their panels’ efficiency at above 90 percent for the first 10 years and 80 percent for 25 years. Solar power systems often last for more than 45 years, so you’ll have free electricity for the rest of your retirement.
A Backyard Garden
Grow a few vegetables in the yard. Gardening will give you a daily routine, allowing you to flex a few muscles and get healthy doses of sunlight. Physical activity keeps the muscles and bones in your body primed for action. A sedentary lifestyle can accelerate the degeneration of your body and makes it easier to gain weight. Tending to your plants every day for 15-30 minutes is enough to keep your body in tip-top shape.
Grow vegetables for the table or flowers to show your friends. Tending to plants keeps you motivated, allowing you to stick to a routine. Build a greenhouse so you can continue working during winter. Ditch glass greenhouses and opt for the less expensive polycarbonate ones. You can also grow the “special kind of weed” if your state allows it. They’ll significantly cut the cost of your pain relief medications and maybe bring in a few friends.
Planning for retirement isn’t just about finances. Making your home ready for retirement can be crucial in maintaining your independence, so start planning for future changes and renovations.