As the first of the baby boomers are retiring, it is important to remember that, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 35% of adults age 65 and older have difficulty performing one or more self-care activities.
A Harvard University study found that about one in five homeowners age 65 and older spent an average of $4,800 on a remodeling project. Considering assisted living costs run about $3,300 per month, it makes good sense to invest your remodeling dollars in a safer, more comfortable environment that will allow you to be more self-sufficient and remain in your own home for as long as possible.
Dennis Lippy, and Rick Thaxton, both Certified Aging in Place Specialists, (CAPS), at Home Free Home Modification, say that retrofitting your home for your retirement years doesn’t have to be costly. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Most accidents occur in the bathroom. The most important items that are easily added are:
- grab bars
- hand-held shower heads
- walk in shower
- non-skid mats
The kitchen is also a popular room to renovate. In here think height and light:
- Microwave on counter top, not above the range
- Refrigerator-freezer with side-by-side doors so everything used regularly can be placed at mid-shelf range
- Good lighting is vital. Ceiling fixtures should have at least two or three bulbs of 60-75 watts
- Use under cabinet lighting to improve visibility on counters
Other helpful tips are to arrange furniture so you could get around it in the dark and have outlets installed a little higher so you don’t have to bend as far.