3 Tips for Retiring in a Two-Story Home
Where to retire is a big decision. As people age, their needs change. And retired people generally have less disposable income than they did while they were working, so being able to buy a new home and move becomes much more difficult. Retiring from a two-story home into a one-story or ranch-style home has been a popular trend for decades, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. If you’re hoping to stay in your two-story home, or even move into one post-retirement, here are some tips to make your life easier.
The biggest reason aging people prefer one-story homes is due to the lack of stairs. While people are often still in great health right after they retire, that may change. And even the healthiest people will struggle to navigate stairs once they reach a certain age. Stairs also increase a risk of falls — which can be devastating for older men and women. You may prefer having the privacy of an upstairs bedroom, but be sure there’s space on the first floor for a master bedroom suite (preferably with an attached bathroom) so you can move downstairs when you need to. The same goes for often-used rooms like the laundry room. While having it upstairs may be great during the child-rearing years, hauling laundry baskets up and down stairs can be difficult for people as they age. A first-floor laundry room allows you to maintain your independence without adding unnecessary physical strain.
Make Some Modifications
Often referred to as “universal design” in the design build and government parlance, there are ways to equip your home to be livable both now and well into the future. Consider what sort of accessibility options you may need as your physical capabilities change, and start adding them into your home now. Handrails may not be enough; motorized chair lifts can give people with limited mobility access to the second floor. Widen doorways and make sure hallways are passable for wheelchairs or walkers. For outside, ramps may not be feasible; talk to a design build expert to see what will work best for your home.
Add Smart Furniture
Furniture geared toward people with limited mobility is a smart investment for single- or two-story homeowners. The bathroom is one of the most important rooms to make sure there are extra accessories: handrails, walk-in showers, seats and no-slip floors are essential. But don’t forget about other options. Electric beds that can be raised or lowered can help those with aging limbs get in and out of bed more easily. Similarly, there are chairs and recliners that have motorized raise and lower functions to help people sit down and get up without extra pain and effort.
Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to have someone help you handle maintenance on the second floor of your home once it becomes difficult for you. If you aren’t able to hire someone to help, ask a family member or friend if they’d be willing to come by once or twice a week in exchange for a meal. There are also churches and community organizations that may be willing to stop by periodically and help with light housekeeping or even yard work.
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