Renovating your home for functional ageing in place is a necessity for seniors who want to remain in their homes. The difficulty is making certain that it is worth the investment. Some homes simply do not have the capacity or space to be accessible options, and when thinking about how your future will look, there is so much more than just the physical access to different areas of your space.
While renovating your home is a great option for ageing in place successfully, it sometimes makes more sense to move to a home that is already more conducive to the lifestyle you want. If you’re thinking about renovating for accessibility, consider these 10 questions before taking the plunge.
1. Will Renovating Bring Down The Property Value of My Home?
This is a great place to start. If you’re thinking about renovating your home to make it more accessible, think about what that is going to do to the property value of your home. Homes with closed layouts can actually benefit immensely from accessible options like widening doors, pocket doors, and opening up spaces to let in more light. However, there are certain renovations that will definitely make your home a harder sell in the future. Special customizations like walk-in showers and lowered countertops may make it harder to sell your home in the future.
2. How Much Maintenance Does My Home Require?
No matter how adequately you augment your home to make it more accessible, every home will require some degree of regular maintenance. How does this fit into your lifestyle and financial situation? If you have a home with lots of green space, those areas will still require the same amount of care. Is your home older? Many older homes have more regular maintenance requirements than newer builds, and sometimes renovations exacerbate these problems or make it unrealistic to do certain renovations.
3. What Is My Long-Term Financial Situation?
Staying in your home is more financially feasible for the long-term, there is no question about that. However, when looking at the numbers, make sure you factor in things like long-term care or other services you may need to make ageing in place make sense. This includes things like maintenance, meal or cleaning services, and should be a consideration before you decide to renovate your home.
4. How Likely Is It That I Will Need Full-Time Care?
It may be a little hard to do, but thinking about your current and projected health critically means you will be prepared for future events. If you have a condition that makes it likely you will require long-term care, factor this into both your financial planning and to your redesign. If it’s likely you’ll have full-time care, make sure that you have at least two bedrooms available when you renovate in order to facilitate this.
5. What Do I Hope My Lifestyle Will Look Like?
Do you love your home but find it challenging to find things in your area that are conducive to senior living? This is one of the most important factors when deciding if you should stay in your home and do the necessary renovations. Think about what you hope your lifestyle will be like once retired, and search out a location where those things are close by.
6. How Much Space Will I Actually Use?
When making the decision to renovate, think about how much space you will actually need as you get older. Many seniors decide to downsize from family homes, but this may not always be a desirable option. Do you have family that lives out of town that you are hoping to still be able to host? Do you have pets that will still require lots of living space? Once renovated, what will the livable space of your home look like from day-to-day? Answering these questions will help you decide which route to take.
7. Is My Current Community Age-Friendly?
It’s something that we don’t think about until we are forced to. How accessible is my current community? Next time you’re out and about, take stock of the things you like to do where you currently live, and if those things would still be options for you if you had a mobility impairment.
8. How Much of The Year Will I Spend In My Current Home Once Retired?
Many seniors, especially those who live in colder climates, will choose to spend winter in a warmer climate. If your plan is to fly south for the winter, weather dependent safety hazards may not be something you need to concern yourself with. These include an inclined driveway, or a driveway that is prone to ice buildup and is not easily cleaned, as well as front entryways. In the winter, it is advantageous for a home to have a garage entrance to avoid slipping and falling. If you see yourself in your home, even during the colder months, check out this article on how to improve the safety of your entryway.
9. What Are The Limitations of My Current Space?
A home that is not built for accessibility can be improved, but only to a certain extent. If you have a narrow space, or if your home is on more than two floors, it may be time to rethink how well your home will function for you in the long term. Homes that work most successfully for access are usually square and have two floors. Before you decide to renovate, take a look at some of our accessible home features to see if yours fits the bill.
10. Is Weather A Concern For Me?
For those who live in warmer climates, the way your home functions in the event of a storm or heavy snowfall is just not a factor as you age. Winter is especially challenging for seniors, and being in a location where you’re likely to slip and fall often is not ideal. Is your home in a rural area? Relocating to the city may make more sense long term, as roads are kept safer and condos do not require you to handle maintenance.
Renovating or relocating are both important and impactful decisions for your future. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but with the right tools and guidance, it can be the most important factor in successfully staying in your home (wherever that may be) as you age. If you’ve landed on relocating, check out this helpful article on relocating as a senior. If you’ve made the decision to renovate your home, check out the IA Checklist, where we’ve comprised a detailed list of what renovations you should be investing in.