Barring some manner of unforeseen tragedy, we are all going to grow old. This is a fact that we seem to be evolutionarily predisposed to ignore. Old age seems to catch us by surprise, as if such a thought never occurred to us. That might explain why making financial plans for retirement is so hard. It is just one of the things we need to do to prepare for our senior years.
We don’t like to consider a time when we will not be able to provide for ourselves via gainful employment. We don’t want to contemplate our kids having to take care of us because we can no longer manage it. And we never want to believe that we will have to leave our dream home and move into assisted living.
The good news is that growing old does not make assisted living inevitable. Given reasonable physical and mental health, you should be able to live independently for as long as you like. But if you are going to stay in the home of your youth, there are a few modifications that you will want to consider. Here are just a few:
When you are planning for retirement and looking into life insurance, you are imagining what could happen at some future time, especially if things don’t go as planned. One of the questions you should ask is, what will you do if you completely lose mobility and find yourself confined to a wheelchair.
This is a question asked by absolutely no one who buys a multi-level home with stairs. The good news is there are still things you can do to keep that two-story home after mobility loss. Professional installers of residential elevators have the know-how to transform an inaccessible home to one that everyone can access with comfort
There will always be a few cases where an elevator cannot be easily retrofitted. It could be that you will not need that extreme a solution. But if you have bad knees in your forties and find climbing stairs to be a challenge, you can always have a stair lift installed. This is a good option for those with partial mobility loss. When joint pain becomes an issue, you don’t have to leave your home. Plan ahead so that the finances are there when you need them.
Make Your Bathrooms Senior Safe
The bathroom is the scene of some of the most serious accidents in the home, especially for seniors. The kitchen is the most dangerous room in the home because of the danger from sharp objects and fire. But the bathroom is an obstacle course of hazards whether or not you are a senior.
Making the bathroom safe for seniors requires more than suctioning a grab handle to the wall. For the record, that is decidedly unsafe. You need properly installed handles and bars near the toilet and in the shower. It is not just a matter of support with standing and sitting. There is also the matter of shower seats and non-slip mats for the floors.
Another consideration is communication. People do not necessarily bring electronics into the bathroom with them. So if there is an accident, there needs to be a way for a person to call for help from any location in the house. This leads us to the next modification:
Smartphones and tablets are a good start. You want to be able to say, “Hey Siri” or “Hello Google” from anywhere in the house and have your mobile device close enough to hear you and respond. But mobile devices have three major drawbacks:
- They are mobile, and so are not always where you can find them.
- The battery runs down.
- The microphones have a short range.
With products like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod, these issues are eliminated. They are even designed to make phone calls. So there is always connectivity in a crisis
Don’t sell your home. Make it Senior safe by installing a lift, adding safety accessories to the bathroom, and installing always listening communications devices. You should never feel unsafe at home.