One of the hardest things to figure in regard to accessible living is if your home is worth staying in, or if the financial stress and upheaval of renovations is even worthwhile. If any of these five things apply to your home, it may be time to think about relocating.
1. Your Main Floor Is Small or Narrow
One of the most important things to evaluate when you’re looking to age in place is how much of your home is accessible from the first floor. When doing renovations, it’s important to figure out if you will be able to have basically all of your daily life needs met without going up and down the stairs. Your main floor should be able to realistically fit your living space and bedroom, with dimensions that work functionally for mobility aids like wheelchairs and walkers. If your main floor is small, it may be worthwhile to look into other options that are more conducive to aging comfortably.
2. You Have More Than Two Floors
If your home has more than two floors, it is going to be much more difficult to make it accessible, especially as mobility becomes an increasingly important concern. Even though there are mobility aids for stairs, they move slowly and can be cumbersome to use regularly.
3. There Are Lots of Stairs At Your Entrance
This is one of the most important considerations in regard to your home. The entrance of your home is one of the more complex areas to renovate, so if you have a house that has a narrow entrance, too many stairs to add a ramp to, or a steep incline, it may be time to rethink your location.
4. Your Home Is Older And High Maintenance
Think about the household chores you perform on a daily or weekly basis, what do they entail? Is your home older? Are there things you have to do regularly that may not be as realistic as you age? The key to aging in place successfully is to choose a living space that will work for you with as little maintenance as possible. If you know that your home is not conducive to this, it may be time to think about a more updated living space that caters more effectively to your needs.
5. You Have Too Much Space
Even if your home has a substantial main floor and renovations make sense, it’s possible that you simply have too much space now that your children are grown and have left the house. How do you know if you have too much space? A great way to look at it is how much you’re going to need to clean your home and what that will mean for you in the long term. Financially speaking, the cost of having cleaning services for a large space may not be worthwhile, especially if you need assisted care on top of it in the future.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you critically evaluate what your home requires for you to stay in it and whether this makes sense for you and your lifestyle long-term. Aging in place successfully starts with having a living space that is simple and openly functional, so if your home is in need of major improvements, it may be wise to look at other options. Check out our IA Checklist to see what you should be looking for if you do decide to renovate your home.