When you’re getting ready to retire, your life is likely going to change drastically. Most people look forward to their retirement, a time when you’re free of the restraints of work. Retirees often spend time pursuing passion projects, volunteering, or even working part-time to stay engaged with their local community. While you might have big plans of crossing off bucket list destinations during your retirement, have you considered whether your home is ready for it?
There are a few things you should consider when readying your house for retirement. Below, we’ll explore what kinds of alterations you may want to make in your home and how to create a retirement sanctuary.
Update your HVAC system
As you get older, you might start noticing that you’re more sensitive to temperature changes in your environment. You may experience a lower tolerance for both cold and hot temperatures. Investing in a new energy-efficient HVAC system can mean that your house stays more comfortable. A modern HVAC system can also help you save on your utility bills as an added bonus. You can also make other changes to your home like installing insulation, weather stripping, and purchasing double-pane windows to retain both cooled and warmed air.
Reposition your bedroom
When you’re younger, stairs won’t present you with a problem — but that might change as you age. Falls and injuries are one of the biggest dangers for the older generation. If your bedroom is upstairs, you might want to consider moving your bedroom downstairs where it’s easily accessible. You can transform an upstairs bedroom into a guest bedroom or even a study so the space isn’t wasted.
Consider a reverse mortgage for renovation funds
A reverse mortgage is a way for you to continue living in your home during retirement, while providing you with liquid cash to use for whatever you want. This unique financial tool converts the equity you have in your home into tax-free cash in the form of loan funds. You can use your reverse mortgage home loan proceeds to pay off your mortgage to improve your cash flow, pay off credit cards, or renovate your home. Or, you can use it to pay surprise medical expenses.
To qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must live in your home permanently, be at least 62 years of age, and have substantial equity in your home.
Create a safe bathroom
Even in your younger days, you’ve probably had that heart-stopping feeling of slipping on your tub or in the shower. Unfortunately, as you get older, your reaction time and muscle control can get slower and weaker. It’s important to ensure that you can safely use all the rooms in your home. Some changes you may want to consider making to your bathrooms include:
- Grab bar installation: Grab bars can allow you to enter and leave a tub more easily. It’s critical to ensure that the grab bars you choose are both slip-resistant and easy to see.
- Add a shower chair: For those who have balance challenges, a shower chair can provide you with a place to safely rest while bathing.
- Use a walk-in tub: A walk-in tub is a fantastic option for seniors who don’t want to take the risk of falling while getting in and out of the tub. They feature doors that you can easily open and close.
- Place non-slip mats around the bathroom: The shower and bathtub aren’t the only places that can present a serious fall risk. Anywhere with a smooth surface can become dangerous when wet. Non-slip mats allow for more confident navigation of the bathroom and reduce the risk of falls.
- A raised toilet seat: If mobility becomes an issue in your later years, a raised toilet seat can provide a solution. Some raised toilets come with grip bars to assist with mobility and balance.
Install a security system
Your retirement should be peaceful and feeling secure within your home is a major influence as to whether or not you have peace-of-mind. Invest in a security system that detects motion and break-ins. Make sure to use the stickers and signs that come with your security system to publicize it outside your house – these signs can help ward off would-be burglars and other criminals.
It’s also a good idea to invest in deadbolts and strong locks on doors and any other entrances or access points. Additionally, some people feel safer having a dog in the house, both to love on and to help keep you safe from intruders.
Besides locks, security systems, and dogs, you might want to get a security system that includes a panic button. A panic button can send messages to the appropriate authorities if an emergency occurs.
Create an emergency plan
Natural disasters happen all over the world, so it’s important to have a plan of action so you’ll be prepared if the worst-case-scenario occurs. Whether your home is vulnerable to fires, earthquakes, or flooding, it’s critical to know where to evacuate and to create an emergency pack. Your emergency pack should include: a week’s worth of supplies, your prescriptions, flashlights, and an extra portable power bank to charge your phone. Don’t forget about important documents either, make sure they’re locked away in a fire-proof safe.
Create a home full of things you love
Retiring frees up a lot of time in your schedule. Make sure you have all of your vices and hobbies available at your disposal to help keep you motivated, happy, and healthy. Keeping a routine can help keep you satisfied when retiring. Waking up each day and going golfing with a friend can be a great start to your day and ensures that you get the proper exercise you need to keep your body and mind healthy.
Additionally, retirement is the time to treat yourself. Whether you enjoy making homemade bread, a good bottle of scotch, or the occasional smoke, a nice long vacation with your spouse, make sure to keep your favorite things on hand. Retiring can become dull without your favorite things. Keep things fun and exciting by trying new hobbies and vices to help pass the time.
Change up your lighting
Good lighting isn’t just better for your eye health, it can also make your home more enjoyable and comfortable. Even if you’re very familiar with your home, dimly lit spaces can make it hard to judge distances. Illuminate entrances and exits and highlight any stairs or changes in floor heights.
Task lighting can help you with activities like reading, sewing, and other activities that require more concentrated lighting. If you want more control over the quality of your light, consider using dimmer switches so you can get the perfect amount of illumination no matter your activity.
Takeaways: Preparing your home for retirement
When you’re ready to leave the workforce, it’s an excellent idea to review the spaces within your home to determine if it can handle your changing needs as you age. Although you might have mobility well into your 80’s and 90’s, it’s a safe bet that you’ll appreciate a home that’s easier to navigate and live in. Above all, consider making these changes to your home before you need them to avoid fallings and other injury risks.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com and also runs a personal blog, Mixed Bits Media. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.