As we age, the prospect of leaving our home to move into an assisted living facility becomes increasingly daunting. After all, our home is where we’ve raised our families and made cherished memories.
With Americans living longer and healthier lives than ever before, many seniors are opting to age in place (i.e. stay in their own homes) rather than downsizing or moving into a retirement community. And who can blame them? After all, who wouldn’t want to stay in the comfort of their own home as they enter a new phase in their lives?
But while aging in place may seem like the obvious choice, it’s not without its challenges. Senior home care costs are often unaffordable, and most homes are not designed with aging in mind, which can make everyday tasks more difficult—and potentially dangerous—for seniors. That’s why it’s important for those who want to age in place to take proactive steps to prepare their home for the future.
Investing in home modifications now can help you avoid obstacles down the road and make your home more comfortable and safe as you age. Perhaps best of all, is that many of these modifications can be made without breaking the bank. Not only will these improvements make your day-to-day life easier as you get older, but they’ll also increase the resale value of your home should you ever decide to move.
In this blog we'll look at some of the most common—and cost-effective—home modifications seniors can make to age in place safely, and we'll highlight the cost benefits of making these changes to your home sooner rather than later.
Changes you Can Make Now to Prepare Your Home for the Future
Working with a BIAW Certified Builder™, like Pathway Design and Construction, who specializes in Aging in Place, will allow you to draw on a wealth of knowledge and experience to find the best solutions for your needs. Some of the most cost-effective changes you can make to your home to prepare for aging in place include:
Widening Doorways and Hallways
As we age, it becomes more difficult to open doors that are narrow or have handles that are difficult to grip. This can be dangerous if you’re carrying something hot or sharp, or if you’re trying to get out of the house in an emergency. Widening doorways or hallways will make it easier to move around your home, and replacing doorknobs with levers will make them easier to open.
Installing Grab Bars
Grab bars are one of the simplest and most effective ways to make your home safer and more accommodating as you age. They can be installed in bathrooms near the toilet, shower, and tub, stairways, and other areas of your home where you need extra support.
Adding Non-slip Flooring
Slips and falls are a leading cause of injury for seniors, and they can be especially dangerous if you have a health condition that makes it difficult to get up after a fall. Adding non-slip flooring in high-traffic areas of your home will help you avoid falls and stay safe.
Updating Your Lighting
Poor lighting can make it difficult to see, which can lead to accidents. Additionally, as you age, your eyesight might change and you’ll need more light to see clearly. Updating your lighting fixtures and adding additional light sources will help you stay safe as you move around your home.
Making Your Home Wheelchair-Accessible
If you have a disability or mobility issue that makes it hard to get around, making your home walker or wheelchair-accessible can greatly improve your quality of life. Some common home improvements include installing ramps, widening doorways, and adding accessible bathrooms and showers.
Making these changes to your home now will not only make your life easier as you age, but they’ll also increase the resale value of your home should you ever decide to move. In fact, remodeling your home with aging in place in mind has multiple cost benefits, which we'll explore so you can make the most informed decision for your needs.
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The Financial Benefits of Renovating Your Home For Aging In Place
There are a number of financial benefits to renovating your home for aging in place, including decreasing your future costs when you retire, increasing the sale value of your home, enjoying tax breaks on some of your improvements, reducing your insurance costs, and saving on your energy bills.
Decreased Future Costs
Making changes now can help you avoid more costly home renovations down the road. For example, installing grab bars in your bathroom during a remodel will be much less expensive than retrofitting them later on. Optimizing your countertops and cabinets for wheelchair accessibility can save you the cost of a future full kitchen remodel, and ensuring your insulation is up to code and windows are placed strategically can help you avoid costly energy bills when you need to save in retirement.
Increased Resale Value
Many of the changes you make to prepare your home for aging in place, such as installing a ramp or widening doorways, will also make your home more accessible for people with disabilities. This can increase its resale value should you ever decide to move. The reality is that people with disabilities make up a significant portion of the housing market, and making your home accessible to them can give you a big return on your investment. The option of renting to those with disabilities also becomes possible, which will give you an excellent way to make passive income if you do choose to move in the future.
Some of the changes you make to your home, such as installing energy-efficient windows or adding insulation, may qualify you for tax breaks. For example, the Residential Energy Efficiency Property Credit offers a tax credit of up to $500 for making energy-saving improvements to your home. This includes solar electrics and water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, and small wind turbines. Sustainable home builders like Pathway will be able to guide you on which improvements will qualify so you can get the most out of your renovations.
Reduced Insurance Costs
Some home modifications, such as installing a burglar alarm or smoke detectors, can help lower your insurance premiums. These changes can also help you avoid costly repairs in the future, as insurance will often cover the cost of damage caused by fires or break-ins. The idea is to be proactive about making your home as safe and secure as possible so you can save on insurance costs down the road.
Making your home more energy-efficient by adding insulation, upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, or placing windows and skylights in strategic locations can help you save on your monthly energy bills. These home improvements can also help to lower your carbon footprint, which is an important consideration for many people as we look to reduce our impact on the environment an leave a lasting legacy we’re proud of.
Securing Your Independence with Pathway
As you can see, there are a range of financial benefits to making home improvements with aging in place in mind. However, the most important benefit is the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can stay in your home as you age, regardless of your changing needs.
At Pathway Design and Construction, we specialize in helping people renovate their homes with aging in place in mind. We work with you to assess your needs and develop a plan that is tailored to your unique requirements and vision for the future. Using Universal Design principles, we can help you make your home not only more visually appealing but also more accessible, sustainable, and energy-efficient so you can ensure an optimal quality of life in your Golden Years.
As Certified Green Builders, we see to it that our clients’ safety is our top priority during the home remodel process. For this reason, we use HVAC filters during the healthy home remodeling process so that our clients can be assured that the air they're breathing is clean and free of harmful particles. This means that you won't have to move out of your space during home renovations due to poor air quality, which translates into less disruption and more savings.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Pathway Design and Construction can help you age in place, Contact our team of experts today. We would be happy to answer any questions you have and talk you through the process.