Have you thought of how you will spend your retirement years? Perhaps, going on trips abroad, taking in the sights, sounds, and flavours, and resting with utmost comfort are the ideal choices. No matter what, anyone would love to indulge in things they postponed for years to prioritize work and raise a family.
But, despite the ideation, a retirement-ready house doesn’t often come to mind. Ironically, when people are supposedly freer from the responsibilities, signs of taking the toll for working so hard will begin to emerge. How often do you worry about no longer being able to bend forward or squat when reaching for something on the ground? Are you stressed when you can’t easily reach that pot on the topmost shelf of the kitchen?
For those whose grown-up children are occupied with their own families and careers, elderly parents should see that doing simple chores will be difficult to perform unassisted. Nevertheless, there are ways to make the house more fall and slip-proof and make every move as painless as possible. Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your house.
It is worth noting that falls happen more frequently than people know it. It rose as one of the main causes of disability and death among those aged 65 and up. This is due to several bodily changes, including a weaker lower body, balance and eyesight issues, and vitamin D deficiency.
It is only right, then, to install anti-slip mats in fall-prone areas such as the shower, toilet, kitchen, and inclined paths. If not, you can replace your house’s entire flooring with non-slippery material like vinyl. To further prevent falls, place grab bars around the house, including the shower, toilet, and hallways. Of course, these are aside from doing exercises to strengthen your lower body and regularly getting check-ups.
Knobs and Switches
Notice how your grip gets weaker the older you get? Take this as a sign to refrain from activities that strain your hands and make the fixtures easier to use. For example, you can replace knobs of faucets and doors with lever knobs. That way, you can turn the tap on with less force and open the door with more ease. That can be helpful, especially during emergencies.
You can also check the softness of the buttons on your light switches and appliances. If you find them hard to press, you can have a mechanic fix them for you. Recently, touch-sensitive light switches have proliferated in the market, too. You can consider this ergonomic option.
Open Floor Plan
Living alone in your once fully occupied house, you realize keeping it clean and moving around is not an easy job. You might want to downsize to a smaller house or break down a couple of walls. Many people do this in anticipation of becoming unable to walk and having to ride a wheelchair to move around. If doing so sounds like a big stretch, you can opt to replace your doors with wider ones instead.
One of the most fool-proof ways to keep your stay in your retirement home painless and safe is to limit it to a single floor. Have your bedroom on the same floor as your kitchen, bath, and living rooms. That way, you can traverse or ride your wheelchair in all directions with low risks of slipping or falling.
If possible, the entire floor must be kept free of elevations and ledges. Likewise, the indoor floor should be levelled with the patio floor for a seamless march out to catch a good amount of sunlight and natural breeze. To make going out less of a chore, you can also install electric awnings that you can open with a button.
Arm-level Electrical Outlets
To avoid bending down, you can transfer electrical outlets to a height within an arm’s reach, around two feet from the ground. That way, you can save your back and arm the burden of stretching to plug cords. You can also avoid transferring heavy electronics from a higher to a lower height and vice versa.
Growing Need for Smart Appliances
You may need to hash out a significant amount of money on this one, but you can guarantee lifelong savings by investing in a smart home. Integrate the controls of your electronics, including your lighting, sound system, refrigerator, faucets, and many more, into one hub. Then, you can synchronize it with your smartphone. When you try such revolutionary technology, you would no longer wish to return to the old way of operating your gadgets.
Regardless if you’ve lost some of your mobility or not, preparing your house for retirement is doing yourself a favour. Doing so can help you secure a peaceful and comfortable future. Remember, quality of life also depends on how comfortable you feel your house is.