Now that you are retired, it’s time to finally do some of those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off. But where do you start? And more importantly, what do you need to know in order to make these projects go as smoothly as possible? Read on for essential home improvement tips for retirees!
An overwhelming majority of people aged 50 and up, according to a recent study by AARP, want to remain in their own homes as they age. Numerous articles highlight the advantages of aging in place, including familiar surroundings, support networks, pets, community involvement, financial savings, and the chance to age with pride and autonomy.
- Make a list of the home improvement projects you want and need to do, so that you can prioritize them.
- Plan ahead for home renovations, as some may take longer than expected to complete.
- Consider hiring professionals to take on more complicated tasks that require special tools and skill sets.
What is the first thing you should remodel in a home?
Depending on the age of your home, time-consuming safety upgrades can make all the difference. Before you jump into the fun stuff like adding a new kitchen or redecorating your living room, consider starting with things that will keep your family safe and comfortable. Fire sprinklers, smoke detectors, and other basic safety features should be added to an older home for ultimate protection in case of an emergency.
Not only is this smart for keeping your family safe, but it’s also a great way to get a lower homeowner’s insurance rate. If you’re looking for where to start when it comes to these time-consuming but essential upgrades, consult with a professional contractor or contact your insurance provider.
Common Senior Safety Issues at Home
1. Mobility and Accessibility
Many common senior safety issues at your current home have to do with mobility and accessibility. If you’re living alone, it may be difficult for you to get around without help. Or perhaps you’ve lost the ability to move easily due to arthritis, spinal stenosis, or other medical problems.
The best way to ensure your safety is by making sure your it is safe and you’re in your home longer. Make sure your mid-range bathroom remodel is accessible so that you don’t slip or fall when you’re taking a curbless shower or using the toilet. Install grab bars in your bathroom, and make sure they’re sturdy enough to support your weight if necessary. You might also want to invest in a shower chair so you can keep yourself balanced while getting clean!
Another common issue for senior citizens is stairs—especially if they live in an older house where there are no elevators or ramps leading up into the house from street level. You should make sure that all entrances are wide enough for wheelchairs or walkers so that everyone can get through safely without having to worry about falling down stairs or injuring themselves while trying to navigate around tight corners or narrow doorways (which can often be found in older housing).
2. Slip and Falls
Slip and falls are one of the most common causes of home injuries. They can cause severe damage to your body, including broken bones and even death! There are a few ways you can reduce the risk of falls in your home:
- Remove shoes at the door to avoid tracking dirt into your house
- Keep rugs clean and free of debris
- Use nightlights in dark hallways or bathrooms
- Install grab bars in bathrooms to prevent falls from occurring when you’re bathing or using the toilet
3. Natural Disasters and Fire Safety
No one ever expects to experience a natural disaster, but it can happen suddenly and without warning. Even when you’re tucked into bed at night, it is important to be prepared in case of an emergency.
For example, have an evacuation plan in place that includes an exit from every bedroom in your home – exits which you should practice often with everyone in the household. Knowing ahead of time how to escape a flood or fire could mean the difference between safety and a potentially fatal situation. When it comes to emergency situations, being proactive leads to greater peace of mind and a better chance of protection.
How To Make a Home Safe for Retirees
1. Get rid of hazards
When you’re getting home ready to retire, there are a few things you can do to make your home safe for everyone who visits.
The first step is to get rid of hazards. A hazard is anything that can cause injury or death if someone trips over it or accidentally touches it. Hazards include:
– Broken glass and sharp edges on furniture
– Stray electrical cords and wires
– Loose rugs and carpets that could trip someone up
– Old or damaged appliances such as washing machines, dryers, stoves, ovens or dishwashers
2. Install safety and accessibility equipment
It’s easy to overlook the need for proper safety equipment in most homes, but it can be a life-saver in the event of an emergency. Consider installing a fire alarm, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems to keep you safe. You should also consider installing grab bars in your bathroom and shower areas to make them more accessible for people with mobility issues. These additions will not only help you if something happens in your home—they’ll also make it safer for everyone who lives there!
3. Get a medical alert system
It’s never too late to start making your home safe for retirement. Whether you’re a senior who just moved in or a young professional who wants to make sure their parents are protected, it’s important to stay proactive about safety.
One of the best ways to do that is to get a medical alert system. These systems connect you directly with emergency services and allow them to track your location using GPS technology. They also provide live-chat support 24 hours a day, which means that if something happens in the middle of the night, there will always be someone on the other end of the line ready to help.
4. Invest in a home security system
When you’re retired, your home is likely to be your biggest asset. You might not have a lot of money left over after retirement, but you need to make sure that the place where you live is safe.
A home security system can help protect your most valuable possession—your home. It’s also a great way to keep an eye on the people who are in and out of your house on a regular basis, like visiting family members or caregivers. And if something does happen while you’re away from home, a security system will send an alert letting you know that something is wrong so that you can take care of it as quickly as possible.
There are many different types of home security systems available today. The best option for you depends on how much money and effort you want to put into securing your home and what kind of options are available in your area.
Home Improvement Ideas for Retirees
1. Install Energy-Efficient Windows
Energy-efficient windows can help you save money on your energy bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
Installing new energy-efficient windows is a great home improvement project for retirees.
If you’re looking to make your home more environmentally friendly, installing new energy-efficient windows is a great place to start. By choosing high-performance window frames and glass, you can keep warm air in during the winter months and cool air in during the summer. You’ll also reduce your carbon footprint by making sure that less energy is wasted heating or cooling your home.
If you’re planning on staying in your home for many years, it’s worth considering investing in high-quality windows that will last for decades – even if they cost a little bit more at first.
2. Fix all Drafts and Air Leaks
Ah, age in place. Whether you’re living in the same home for retirement or staying put after a lifetime of moves, drafts and air leaks can be the bane of your existence! From that cold first floor that can make for an icy winter to an alarming fire hazard, these issues rear their heads all too often in households of retirees.
Fortunately, there are some easy fixes. Taping up any gaps around windows and doors with weatherstripping, caulk or foam will help you seal up any holes and make age-in-place more enjoyable. You can also use insulation foam in the attic or basement to plug up any Gaps between walls and ceiling joists so age-in-place stays worry-free for as long as possible!
3. Add More Insulation
Insulating your home is a great idea for retirees because it can help you save money on your energy bills. If you’re adding a new room to your home, consider installing more insulation in that area. If you already have an addition, look into insulating the walls between the addition and the old part of the house.
4. Use Composite Cladding
Retirees often live on a fixed income and have to make their money stretch as far as possible. One way to do that is by using composite cladding on your home. Composite cladding is made from two or more materials, like wood and plastic or rubber, that are bonded together to create a strong and durable surface.
Composite cladding can be used in a variety of ways around the home. It can be used as an alternative to tiles or other types of flooring, so it’s an inexpensive way to add style and color to your living room or kitchen. It can also be used on walls and ceilings, which will help you save money by reducing the need for painting or repainting over time.
5. Install Metal Roofing
If you’re a retiree and you want to improve your home, consider installing a new roof.
Metal roofing is easy to install and durable. It will last for decades, and it can help reduce your energy costs. Metal roofs are also very attractive—they come in many different colors and styles.
6. Install Skylights
If you’re in your golden years, you might be looking for ways to make your home more accessible and easier on your joints. One way to do that is by installing skylights in the area of your house where you spend most of your time. Skylights are great because they let in plenty of natural sunlight, which helps brighten up rooms, reduce eye strain and fatigue, and can even improve mood.
7. Install Roof Vents & Fans
Installing roof vents and fans can be a great way to help reduce your utility costs.
Roof vents will allow air to flow freely through your attic and keep your home cool during the summer.
Fans can be used in conjunction with roof vents in order to circulate air throughout your home and keep it from getting stale.
Installing these kinds of systems will also help prevent mold and mildew from growing inside your home, which could lead to costly repairs down the road.
8. Energy-Efficient Outdoor Lighting
If you’re looking for a new and exciting way to make the most of your golden years, why not create an outdoor space that reflects your personality? One great way to take advantage of the natural beauty around you is by sprucing up your backyard with new decks and better lighting. You’ll love relaxing in style while enjoying magnificent views, plus you can even reduce your energy costs with new lighting installations. With so many benefit, new deck and lighting upgrades are sure to add loads of joy to your golden years.
9. Consider Clean Energy Sources (Solar and/or Wind)
If you’re a retiree, you may be looking to reduce your energy consumption and save money on your monthly bills. One way to do that is by installing solar panels or wind turbines on your home. These clean energy sources can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while lowering your utility costs.
10. Widen doorways
If you’re a retiree, you might be struggling to move around your home. Your knees and hips may be sore, and it’s tough to get around when your house is just too small for you. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to look into adding a few extra inches in your doorways. This will help open up the room and make it easier access to get around inside of it.
11. Install lever-style doorknobs
If you’re a retiree and have been thinking about doing some home improvement projects, installing lever handles is a great way to start rather than traditional doorknobs.
Lever-style doorknobs are easy to install, and they’re much more secure than standard doorknobs. They also make it easier for older people and those with mobility issues to open doors, because they don’t require as much pressure or force.
12. Put grab bars in bathrooms
If you’re retired, you may have more time to spend in the bathroom.
Grab bars can help you get safely out of the tub, and they can make getting up from the toilet easier. They’re also handy for helping you get up onto your feet after sitting on the commode.
Grab bars are easy to install and don’t require any major renovations. Just pick a spot where they’ll be useful, mark it with masking tape, and drill holes for them. Then screw them into place using a screwdriver or power drill.
You may want to use two grab bars if there’s no wall behind one of them—you’ll want something to hold onto as soon as you stand up!
13. Replace flooring with slip-resistant material
The flooring in your home may be one of the most dangerous areas for retirees. If you’re over 65 and your floors are slippery, it’s important to change them out for something more secure.
Slip-resistant flooring can be found in many different places. It can be as simple as a foam mat placed on top of the existing flooring, or it could require a complete replacement of all the flooring with new material.
It’s important to note that even if you don’t have any trouble walking, slip-resistant floors can still help you stay safe. They prevent falls by giving your feet traction while walking and keep you from sliding around during use.
14. Add a wheelchair ramp
If you’re a retiree, it’s time to get the house in shape.
A wheelchair ramp is an easy way to make your home more accessible for everyone. It’s also an affordable option that will help you stay active and healthy for as long as possible. Plus, if you have any friends or family members who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility, they’ll appreciate being able to come to your house whenever they want!
You might also want to hire a professional contractor—they can help you determine what kind of ramp is best for your situation and give you advice on how to install it properly.
15. Adjust kitchen countertops
If you’re a retiree, you probably don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. But even if you can’t cook, you should still be able to enjoy your kitchen—and that means making it as welcoming and comfortable as possible.
One quick way to make your kitchen more pleasant is by adjusting your countertops. If they’re too tall or too low for you, it can be hard to even reach them. And if they’re too high, it’s hard to get up from the chair without help.
An easy solution is to install a new set of countertops that are at a more accessible height for seniors. This will make preparing meals easier and safer for those who might have trouble standing up.
16. Install a chair lift or elevator
If you’re a retiree and you want to stay in your home as long as possible, it’s important to make sure that you have access to all of the areas that you need. A chair lift or elevator can help you get around so that you don’t need to be concerned with stairs—and they can also help you stay safe when it comes to using stairs in the first place.
17. Maintain Plumbing and sewer systems
When you’re retired, you have a lot more time to devote to home improvement projects. One of the most important things to keep in mind is your plumbing and sewer systems. Make sure they are maintained on a regular basis, as they are an integral part of your home. You don’t want something as simple as a clogged drain to cause major problems in your home.
18. Upgrade roof and ceiling
Now that you’ve retired and are living on your own, you might want to consider upgrading the roof and ceiling of your home. This is a great way to make sure that your home is energy-efficient, which will save you money in the long run.
19. Making improvements to walls
If you’re a retiree, there are plenty of ways to make your home feel like a more comfortable place. One of the easiest is to add some color to your walls. You don’t have to go crazy with it—just a small touch can really brighten up your day.
20. Check and perform maintenance with the natural gas system
If you’re a retiree, your home’s natural gas system is probably aging along with you. That’s why it’s important to check it every once in a while. You don’t want to risk an explosion or fire because of a faulty valve or leaky pipe, so make sure you keep an eye on things and perform routine maintenance when needed.
The housing market in my area is booming right now. I’m sure if you look into it, you’ll find that there’s been a lot of growth in the past few years. Property values and the housing market have increased and people are buying more homes than ever before.
Money Saving and Financing Home Renovation Tips
1. Renovate Earlier Than Later and DIY
When you’re retired, you have more time to spend on home improvement projects. But it’s important to know that it’s better to renovate earlier than later.
The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your house will be out of date and need a lot more work to bring it back up to code. The last thing you want is to invest in a few months worth of fixing up your kitchen only to find out that new regulations are now requiring you to upgrade the appliances as well!
It’s also a good idea to do as much of the work yourself as possible (and safely). This way, if something goes wrong, you know exactly what happened and how best to fix it.
2. Check for Tax Breaks on Solar
When you go solar, the government rewards you with a tax break. That means you’ll be eligible for a tax credit that will reduce the amount of money you owe in taxes.
Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was established in 2006 by the federal government. Since then, the solar energy sector in the United States has expanded by over 10,000%, expanding at a rate of over 50% annually over the past decade. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created and billions of dollars have been invested in the American economy as a result of this sector.
If your solar power system generates electricity for a U.S. resident, you may be eligible for the ITC in the same tax year that you installed the system.
For systems implemented in 2020–2022, the ITC will provide a 26% tax credit; in 2023, the credit will drop to 22%. Consider a 22% to 26% savings when making your decision on solar panels.
3. Plan and Borrow Early
As a retiree, it’s important to start planning early.
There are many things you can do to make your home more comfortable and safe, but they may cost money. The sooner you plan and start saving for them, the better—and the more likely you’ll be able to afford them.
4. Check with Medicare
This is especially important if you are over 65, as Medicare may cover certain costs associated with home modifications. Check with your health insurance provider to see what they will cover and make sure to get a copy of the written authorization from them so that you can ensure all of your costs are covered.
5. Check for federal grants and low-interest loans
The federal government offers grants and loans for those who are making home improvements. These grants or loans can provide you with extra funds to cover costs that may not be covered by insurance, such as ramps, widening doorways, installing lifts, and more.
Be sure to check the eligibility requirements for each grant or loan program before applying so that you know you are qualified and can maximize the amount of assistance you receive.
6. Give a friend/family member power of attorney
This is especially important if you are unable to make decisions on your own due to age or disability. Giving someone power of attorney means that they can act as your agent in financial decisions and matters related to home improvements. This can be a great way to make sure that you get the help and support you need while still having control over how your money is used
7. Track the Budget
No matter how you finance your home renovation project, it’s important to track the budget and make sure that you are staying on target. This means creating a spreadsheet with all of the costs associated with your renovation, including supplies, labor costs, taxes, and more.
Keeping an accurate record of expenses is essential in making sure that everything is done correctly and within budget. It will also help you in the future if there are any issues that arise with your renovation or new home improvements.
8. Have a light switch at every entrance to a room.
Additionally, make sure the switch can be reached from a wheelchair. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, light switches should be placed from 15 to 48 inches above the floor to be accessible,
If you want a successful aging in place transition, make sure to read an article that I wrote here, this will give you some tips on how to do it.
Tips on Selecting the Ideal Contractor
Check Contractors’ References before starting work
Before hiring a contractor, it is important to check their references. Speak with previous customers and make sure that the work was completed in a timely manner and at the agreed-upon price.
Research multiple contractors before choosing
It is important to research multiple contractors before choosing which one to hire. Look for reviews online and ask for referrals from friends and family. This will help you make an informed decision about who is best qualified for the job.
Find the one with a suitable financing option
Some contractors offer financing options for home renovation projects. Ask potential contractors if they offer this option, as it may make the overall cost of the project more manageable.
Home Improvement Tips For Retirees FAQs
What is the most common aging-in-place remodeling project?
Popular with aging-in-place home modifications, bathroom remodeling projects are becoming the norm for increasing safety and usability. Many homeowners opt to convert bathtubs to walk-in showers with no-step entry, slip-resistant flooring, and slip-resistant tub solutions for enhanced security. Additionally, installing handrails and a grab bar provides extra support for individuals who may lack mobility or balance. Having these features installed not only helps ergonomically but also gives peace of mind that a safe environment is present in the home.
What home improvements add the most value?
Whenever the topic of aging-in-place remodeling comes up, one of the most commonly discussed projects is remodeling the kitchen. This makes sense; since so much time is spent in the kitchen – for entertaining and for meals – having an efficient and user-friendly kitchen can make everyday life easier.
Another popular choice for aging-in-place remodeling is boosting the bathrooms and master suite making them more functional and accessible. Changes may include updating fixtures, creating barrier-free showers, adding rails or benches, and converting bathtubs to walk-in models. With thoughtful planning, these changes can increase safety while also making a bathroom look modern and stylish.
What is the first thing you should remodel in a home?
Many homeowners wonder which room in the house they should renovate first, and we always recommend starting with the kitchen. Not only do these remodels add to the home’s resale but they’re also a great way to increase curb appeal.
What home improvements are tax deductible?
Some ways you can ease the transition to living in your home as you age are by widening hallways and front doors, lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets, adding lifts between floors, and installing support bars in the bathroom.
All in all, there are a ton of options for retirees when it comes to improving their homes. It really just depends on what you’re looking for and how much money you want to spend. But regardless of your budget, there are definitely some home improvement projects that every retiree should consider.
If you need help getting started or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or schedule a free consultation. I would be more than happy to chat with you about retirement or reverse mortgage options!