Four crucial retrofitting tips for seniors on any budget
When many people hear the word “retrofitting,” they see dollar signs. And while some home improvement projects may come with a larger price tag, there are practical, affordable steps anyone can take without breaking the bank.
1. Start with the big picture
Whether you’re an older adult looking to make changes in your own home, or you’re an adult child who wants to make changes to welcome a loved one, the first step should be to consider the environment as a whole.
Is the home a single story? If so, that’s one hurdle eliminated. If not, can you make adjustments, such as adding (or expanding to) full bathrooms and private bedrooms, to ensure that single-floor living is possible?
Once you identify the primary challenges and opportunities, you can prioritize updates based on factors such as need, cost and complexity. Though it’s ideal to make as many transformations as possible in a timely manner, this process does not have to happen overnight.
2. Make accessibility the first priority
Some of the most dramatic changes are the most simple—and inexpensive. Take levered handles and doorknobs, for example: swapping out the hardware on doors and faucets is a relatively simple DIY undertaking. And it’s possible to find doorknobs for less than $20 apiece. However, for those navigating day-to-day life with arthritic pains or limited mobility, this subtle shift is a game changer. Consider other simple updates, such as moving most-used pantry items to a lower shelf for easy access, which can have a massive impact on safety and ease of use, and start there.
3. Don’t neglect the details
Retrofitting doesn’t always have to be about an addition or update; sometimes it can be as simple as taking something away, or moving it to another location. Consider your kitchen. Are the most commonly used dishes easy to reach? Could you add helpful tips to appliances?—e.g., “Add water first, coffee pod second.”
4. Embrace the idea of the test drive
Many older adults find that simply raising the height of a toilet by a few inches is a tremendous help. But that doesn’t necessarily mean buying a new toilet. As a first step, purchase a thick toilet seat. If this helps, and a more permanent solution seems prudent, move up to a comfort-height toilet. But if you’re happy with the new seat, stay the course and save some money for the next project.
When you’re ready to get started on your own projects, take a look at this comprehensive checklist from the National Association of Home Builders.
Our senior living communities are built around our residents. From chef-prepared meals to weekly housekeeping, we’re proud to offer amenities and services that create an accessible environment for everyone.
And if you want to explore other safe and accessible options, get in touch and pay a visit to one of our Holiday Retirement communities to get a taste of senior living that’s designed with you in mind.