Getting Your Home Ready for Retirement Living

August 26, 2013 · Print This Article

If you intend to “age in place” in your home during retirement, chances are good you’ll need to make some modifications to be able to do so in your later years. Aging in place has been proven to be better for the quality of life of seniors, and the Government of Canada gives some excellent recommendations for aging in place. Your home is probably one of the most important things to consider if you plan on staying in it during your retirement years. Here are a few items to look at in order to help you plan.

Plan for In-Home Medical Care and Caregiving
If you become ill for an extended period or are experiencing mobility problems, you may need some extra help around the house and with medical care. Part of the attraction of a nursing home is to have on-call medical staff, but you can make arrangements to have the same level of care or better in your home as you would receive at a nursing home. Services like Home Instead can be found in most cities across Canada, and even in some rural areas.

Renovations to the Home
There are a number of renovations that you can undertake to make your house more senior-friendly, and what they will be depends on how you use your home. Some can wait until they’re necessary, such as ramps and widening doorways, but others you may want to consider in advance. If you’re attached to a home with stairs, for instance, you may want to consider non-slip carpeting and other safeguards as well as budgeting for the installation of a stair lift if it turns out that you’ll need one. You’ll also want to move appliances you access on a regular basis, such as laundry machines, to the main floor of the home to reduce the amount of stairs you’ll have to climb.

Some other renovations to consider:

Cork Floors in Kitchen
If you’re a chef that stands for long hours in your kitchen baking or cooking, a cork floor is a spongy, resilient material that will increase your comfort level. Due to its spongy nature, when you drop items such as glass on it, they rarely break.

Backyard Decking and Landscaping
If you currently have a backyard with a small deck or no deck at all, consider installing a deck to make it more senior-friendly. If you or your friends and family have to undergo back surgery or a hip replacement, you’ll need a level and stable place to enjoy yourself outside. If you’re an avid gardener, you may want to consider extra landscaping and walkways or ponds in your garden area to increase your enjoyment of your hobby.

Alarm and Medical Alert Services
If you don’t already have an alarm system in your house, you should consider it. While you may think you live in a safe area, it can lower your home insurance premiums and give you additional piece of mind when leaving for vacations or weekends. There are additional benefits to most alarm systems like being able to control the temperature in your house, and even turn appliances on and off. Medical alert systems for seniors that you can wear are also a good idea, particularly if you or your spouse have ongoing health issues.

How Do I Pay For This?
If you are planning on aging in place, there’s nothing better to do it with than a reverse mortgage if your current retirement savings won’t cover the costs involved. Interest rates are better than ever right now, and you don’t have to make any payments until you sell your home. If you use a chunk of your home equity to pay for renovations and in-home medical care, you won’t have to downsize or move into a nursing facility during your later senior years.

If you want to find out more about how a reverse mortgage can help you refit your home so you can age in place, contact Horizon Equity today.