Remodeling Your Home For Retirement

Written by Sally Perkins

As you head towards retirement, one of the questions you will face is: What do I do with my home? Do I move or downsize? Is this home right for my changing needs? A rising number of senior homeowners prefer to age in place, and their reasons hold a lot of validity. Continued independence and the comfort/sentimentality of a family home are two very understandable reasons why retirees would want to stay in their homes. However, just as your finances need to be prepared for retirement, so should your home. Taking steps to modify your home for life after retiring helps you prepare for challenges faced when transitioning to retirement, and can help you achieve that goal of independence later on in life.

Dedicate Spare Space For A Hobby Or Exercise

The physical and mental health benefits of including exercise in retirement have been well documented over the past few years. Regular exercise and activity can help to strengthen your bones and combat pain and osteoporosis. It can also improve your balance and mobility. As a result, your chances of falling are reduced. Around 1 in every 4 Americans aged 65 and older fall annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, taking up a hobby such as hiking, painting or pottery not only helps you stay active in retirement but can help you maintain good brain health.

By the time you approach retirement age, chances are that most of your children will have moved on, either to college or into a home of their own. Retirement is the prime period where seniors wonder if it is time to downsize – possibly due to the now vacant space. Instead, you can turn empty bedrooms into an at-home gym or hobby studio. If you are short on space, you can also consider creating a basement gym, although the stairs may become tricky as you age. This is a minimal change remodeling idea. Most times, the structure of the home does not need to be changed, and minor changes such as painting and window installations to help control ventilation and lighting. For states like Arizona where temperatures can rise, larger or more windows can provide much-needed relief.

Lower Floor Access To An En-Suite

You may want to consider moving your master bedroom downstairs or creating a new guest suite so that your living quarters are not on split levels. Ranch homes and their single level open floor plans are already popular in states such as Texas and Georgia. With the concept being quite common in Texas, many contractors that offer Austin home remodeling services or remodeling in other cities will be well versed in recommending the ideal open floor remodeling changes needed for your home. In the event you do not currently have space downstairs, this may call for an extension. Remodeling’s Cost Vs Value Report showed a master suite addition can add $69,807 to your resale value. For those with space, the remodeling may include repurposing rooms into a new master bedroom. 

Updating Your Kitchen And Bathroom Floors

Another remodeling idea for those entering the retirement phase of their lives is to switch out their flooring. Flooring choices combined with declining mobility or strength often result in falls. Around 20 percent of falls result in a serious head injury or broken bones. Making the switch early on has two purposes: it helps to prepare for and avoid slips, and it can improve the value of your home. Coming up to retirement and after raising a family, floors can take a lot of wear and tear. 

If you have been in your home long term, your flooring materials such as carpets may be at the end of their useful life. When choosing a replacement, go for an option that is easy to maintain/clean, accessible even with mobility aids, and slip-resistant like Coretec Plus or Cork Flooring. Consult with a remodeler, who will be able to advise you on the best options for anti-slip flooring in your kitchen and bathrooms. In the bathroom, electric under tile heating is another change to be considered. They may also suggest the installation of grabs bars near the shower, and swapping your toilet or shower to a walk-in shower. 

Aging at home has many benefits. It minimizes changes and offers security. However, you do need to prepare your home for retirement and all that comes with it. Investing in certain home remodels before you do enter retirement can not only boost your home market value, but will ensure that your home is the best-suited option for your changing needs.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.