The Top-Recommended Housing Upgrades to Benefit Seniors
Once you or a loved one begins to advance and enter the golden years, it’s time to schedule some much-needed housing upgrades to benefit seniors. After all, as you grow older or one of your beloved family members does, you may find that the senior’s ability to move around the home, tackle flights of stairs, and accomplish other tasks may not be as simple as it once was. What’s more, an aging parent or loved one may experience health complications that require unique modifications to the home’s structure to allow them to continue enjoying independence and accomplishing the activities that give their lives meaning.
Before you give your family a hard time or let yourself become embarrassed about having to make some adjustments to your living environment to benefit yourself as a senior citizen, you should consider how common this type of shift can be. There’s nothing wrong with requiring some changes as you grow older or a loved one ages. These shifts in the family dynamic and home environment are expected and necessary to transition from a younger stage in life to one’s older era. Although waiting for renovations to be finished or staying in a short-term hotel while contractors work on your home can be a pain, the results will make it worth it when you can resume your favorite hobbies and activities in your home once the remodeling job is completed.
When Is It Time To Upgrade for a Senior?
Although it can be tricky to figure out when the best timing would be to make housing upgrades to benefit seniors in your home, there are a few key signs that it’s time to make some calls to contractors to modify your home so that it’s suitable for older family members or guests. If you notice that you or a loved one struggles to make it up the stairs, installing a stair lift or ramp can be a life changer. Additionally, when your loved one has shoulder issues that make it hard to reach over his or her head, you may find that lowering the cabinets or creating storage space at a manageable level can make it easier for that individual to maintain autonomy by cooking his or her meals.
Sometimes, health issues may cause you to have to modify your home to make room for large medical devices or add hooks to your home for someone to hang an I.V. bag. At other times, the modifications may make your aging family member or household guest more comfortable. What prompts one person to upgrade existing housing may cause another one to decide to transition from living with family to entering a specialized care facility to address their needs. Since every family’s circumstances are unique, you should consider how the family feels and how the loved one who is aging feels about making certain changes before you proceed with a plan.
Certain modifications that benefit seniors in a house or rental property may be permanent. For example, once you lower a set of cabinets, you can’t raise them without calling the contractors to perform this modification again. Others may be removable or temporary, like placing darker curtains in a room where an elderly family member who is particularly sensitive to light sleeps or having security cameras installed in your home to track a wandering loved one who has memory concerns due to an age-related illness. As you make changes to your home, you’ll want to consider how it will affect the lives of those who are not aging or experiencing the same problems.
Although you do need to think about the safety and health of an aging family member, you should also give space to other family members to express concerns or feelings about all of the changes that are occurring during this transitional season. Open communication will allow ambivalent or unhappy family members to feel heard. It also allows you to explain why it’s necessary to make these changes.
While you and your family will be the only people who can decide what makes sense for you in terms of when you should create housing upgrades to benefit seniors on your property, these signs and symptoms that the current housing set-up doesn’t work for a senior are the ideal indicators. If the aging family member who lives in your home voices concerns about their safety or comfort in your house, this may also be a good sign that it’s time to get companies who specialize in upgrading homes for seniors involved in the situation. On top of that, you should prioritize housing upgrades that benefit an elderly loved one if their medical team suggests these changes.
Build Up the Foundation
If you’re building a new house from scratch, you’ll want to start with the foundation. If there are concerns about the stability of your existing foundation, you may want to look into horizontal boring companies that may be able to help improve your home’s foundational structure. Although some foundations are made of precast concrete, others may be composed of a different material. Depending on what type of foundation your house has, you may need to bring in contractors who specialize in that kind of material so you get the best modifications for your senior loved one.
Constructing a guest home from the foundation up may be one of those housing upgrades to benefit seniors that costs a lot of money in the short run. Ultimately, it’ll improve your loved one’s quality of life so much that it pays off. This can help your senior family member enjoy independence while staying close to family members who can provide transportation to the hospital, medical appointments, grocery stores, hairdressers, and more.
Clean the Water
A common cause of illness for seniors and young folks alike is water that has been contaminated with chemicals, unwanted debris, and other toxins. Having access to clean water for bathing, cooking, and hydrating is an important part of staying healthy. While some housing upgrades to benefit seniors may have cosmetic value, scheduling a water treatment has a functional purpose for your home instead of a strictly fashionable one.
If your water heater isn’t functioning properly, you can ask the contractors who treat your water if they have any recommendations or referrals for companies that would be able to fix your boiler. Sometimes, they won’t know anyone who can help get your water heater to work the way it did when you bought it. Still, they may be able to point you in the direction of services or companies who would have an idea of what company you should call in this scenario.
Finish the Basement
When your aging loved one needs to move into your home, it can feel like an encroachment on your space. While you may love your parents, grandparents, or great-aunt, you may not love to spend every waking moment on top of them in a cramped living space. If you have a basement, you can take the time to make housing upgrades to benefit seniors in that area and make it a nice apartment for your elderly family member. To keep the basement’s electricity running even in the event of an outage, you may want to purchase a Generac generator.
When your loved one has medical devices that require electricity, you can’t afford to take a gamble on whether the electricity will always be on. If you live in an area that’s prone to outages or natural disasters, a generator will give you and your aging loved one peace of mind. It can also make it easier for your loved one to maintain independence by continuing to use the lights and other electric appliances during an outage.
On top of electricity, a finished basement where your senior family member occupies will need housing upgrades to benefit seniors that keep them warm and safe throughout the winter. Before your loved one moves into a finished basement, you should inspect the HVAC system and complete a furnace repair if it’s needed. While you’re waiting for construction and remodeling to finish on your basement, you may need to have your loved one live in a guest room or stay in a facility that’s designed with seniors’ needs in mind. Once the basement is renovated, you can move your loved one’s belongings into the space and help him or her settle into the new space.
Keep Pipes and Waterways Clear
Since elderly family members are at a higher risk of slipping and falling, you should avoid water damage by scheduling a regular drain cleaning service. If the waterways and gutter aren’t free from debris, you could create wet areas where your loved one may fall and get hurt. Although it can feel like a hassle to take the time to clean out pipes, waterways, and other aspects of your home, it’s time well spent when you’re keeping your loved one safe.
Sometimes, housing upgrades to benefit seniors don’t have to involve tearing things apart or building extensions onto your home. Simply keep your existing areas in your home clean and clear. That might be enough to modify your home for a loved one’s safety.
Make the Yard Presentable
For folks of all ages, spending time in nature every day can do wonders for lifting one’s spirits and maintaining a healthy outlook on life. When your senior loved one enjoys sitting outside and watching the birds in the morning, the last thing they will want to do is gaze into endless piles of trash or high grass. If your yard could use some TLC but you don’t know where to start, you can call a landscape nursery for some pointers about the best services to use for landscaping in your area. Taking any clutter away from your yard like old outdoor furniture or rusted machinery can do wonders for improving the look of your yard, as well.
Some seniors may like a gazebo or another housing upgrade to benefit seniors that gives them a place to sit outside without sitting on the grass or concrete. You can experiment with different types of outdoor furniture to make your older household members more comfortable. Adding their favorite flowers can be a great way to make your yard enticing for your older family members to go on walks in the garden and get the sunlight they need to stay healthy.
Manage the Property Well
One of the best housing upgrades to benefit seniors that a property owner can do is hire qualified staff to manage the premises. If you don’t have adequate staffing for your property, you can partner with property management companies to take care of this problem. From leasing agents to administrative assistants to maintenance workers, you need a whole team to maintain a property. When you’re housing seniors, it’s especially important to be available to answer any questions they may have and address concerns promptly.
If you’re new to renting out a property to tenants, it can help to do your research and find mentorship in your field. Sometimes, those who are just starting in the rental industry may not know what to do with a property outside of collecting rent every month. When you’re a landlord, you’ll need to make sure that you’re following all of the laws and regulations associated with renting out housing.
You’ll also want to make sure that you satisfy certain legal requirements if your housing is specifically designed to accommodate seniors and disabled folks. A strong team of property management professionals can help your property run smoothly, but you should also ensure that you’re aware of the laws, regulations, and rules regarding owning a property. Having adequate landlord’s insurance can also help you prepare for emergencies like liability that may come up over the years as you grow your senior rental business.
When you’re looking for inspiration for housing upgrades that benefit seniors, you should consider our tips above. While some of these upgrades may not be financially doable for you, they can serve as a starting place for updating your home for elderly family members. You can also follow recommendations from your loved one or tenant’s medical team to address housing concerns related to their health and overall well-being.