Create a Fabulous Home – Senior Style!
Here is a checklist for fabulous senior living at home. Today’s my 65th birthday and I feel great! I am celebrating not miserating. So, I promise, not to write another depressing article about bolting handrails all over your bathroom.
For me, “the senior lifestyle” is now very personal. It’s mainly about living comfortably, in whatever style you prefer, and staying healthy while you do it. I built my new house in the context of senior living because I see this as my last home. And now I can use this post to share what I learned. If you are creeping up to senior demographic, or if you just like to plan ahead this may be good information for you. In either case I hope you find it helpful and use it to go about arranging your home in ways that will help you meet those needs.
Making a cozy-home for seniors
I’ve heard that 60 is the new 50 and all that is great. But even though we are healthier and hopefully happier, none of us in this age group, are the same spritely people we were growing up. Still, every one of us is unique and has aged in their own way. I have bad hearing in one ear, lousy vision and I sure don’t have much flexibility since my back operation five years ago, but otherwise I feel great! Your issues may vary more or less, but we all have some and we are likely to have more in the future.
The point here is this: For me, living in a hospital-like environment is not going to happen, at least as long as I have a choice. If you are comfortable in your existing home, like me, why not live out your life there safely and peacefully? If that sounds appealing, here is a checklist of things you can do to help make that possible.
Senior cozy-home checklist
- Arrange for a maintenance/repair service team for the home. This is important to keep your home safe and retain its value high. You want to be enjoying your time and not climbing on ladders doing these tasks.
- Arrange for good housekeeping to the extent you can afford
- ID and print a map of all your home’s utility shut-off locations: Water, electricity, gas and sewer.
- Arrange for food, shopping and pharmacy delivery. This can be cheaper than going in person.
- Arrange for online bill paying
- Learn to use your smart phone contacts and calendar for appointments and reminders
- Create two disaster plans: 1) escape, 2) survival in place. Don’t take these lightly. Mother Nature and other problems can and will sneak up on you. Being prepared if something happens will make you feel real good.
- Declutter: Start seriously transferring “stuff” to others.
- Make upgrades to the structure (see below)
Helpful senior upgrades for the home:
Improve your home’s plumbing
- On-demand natural gas water heater
- Toilets with senior height seats and “Washlette” by Toto-get one here.
- Tub and shower grab bars, strongly and securely mounted
- Hand wand for your shower or tub fixture
- Thermostatic temperature control for shower/tub fixtures
- Lever handle fixtures
- Replace all angle stops and fixtures with new if possible
Replace your appliances
Get your appliances into new or like-new condition with warranties. You don’t want to be worried about these operating as they should.
Upgrade cabinets with self-closing cabinets and drawers
Self or soft-closing hardware keeps the doors and drawers closed and out of the way. They are quiet also which is nice.
Provide seating benches at key areas
- Closet bench
- Shower bench
- MBR bench
- Porch/entry bench
- Garage bench
- Plenty of room to maneuver around cars
- Weatherproof garage doors and operators with emergency back up power
- Slip resistant floors
- Install parking bumpers, to prevent running into the back of the garage
- Have your AAA numbers handy
Ground floor storage
You will always need some small of storage space. Make it easily accessible on the ground floor somewhere. Not in an attic or basement.
Security and entry
- Keyless locks
- Install lever handled hardware at doors
- Remote doorbell
- Video surveillance
- Mail vaults
Laundry and trash
Arrange the housekeeping staff to do the laundry and trash hauling if possible
Here are some things you can consider to make your home even more senior friendly
- Elevators and dumbwaiters
- Eliminate steps wherever possible
- Retrofit to a curb-free shower if possible
- Install strong, secure grab bars at key locations
- Provide room for future walkers and wheelchairs and their storage
- Back-up generator-this is a high priority item for any power-outage situation