A recent survey by the non-profit research firm The Demand Institute concluded that 63% of baby boomers plan to age in place rather than move again. See their report here.
If you are a member of that large population of folks born between 1946 and 1964, here are some things to consider as you seek to keep your home current and useful as you age:
1. Eliminate barriers to mobility
- Updating the look of your yard? Remove steps in favor of ramps where possible.
- Remodeling the interior? Consider widening hallways and doorways to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers. Don’t forget turning radius in bathrooms!
- Replacing floors? Go with low-nap carpet (like Berber) or hardwood for better mobility with wheels or shuffling feet.
Good contractors can do all of this in ways that look like anyone of any age or ability could live there happily (this is why it’s called universal design), and do NOT render the appearance institutional.
2. Pay special attention to first floor living spaces.
You’re bounding up your steps two at a time now, but someday you’ll want to do that less often, if at all. If you’re adding a master suite, consider doing so to the main level of the home so you can cook, live and sleep all on one floor if necessary.
3. Solve problems that have always bothered you (and will only get worse as you, and your home, age).
Sure, you may not be able to do a darned thing about your region’s terrible icy winters, or oven-hot summers, but you sure can make it easier to survive them. Upgrade older furnaces and A/Cs, add insulation to the attic and crawl spaces, replace drafty windows with insulated ones, and consider adding or expanding a garage, so you don’t have to brave the elements just to get into your car.
4. Invest in quality for the long haul
The youngest boomers turn 52 in 2016, the oldest turned 70, and folks are living longer and healthier than ever before. Don’t feel guilty about installing the latest and greatest. Haven’t you earned the right to a rockin’ sound system in your main living area? Don’t you deserve the best in kitchen appliances? Why can’t you finally have that spa tub you’ve always wanted? You’ve already decided you’re going to be in this house a while. Make it a place where you want to spend time.
If you love your home, be sure you keep it lovable as you age. Wise choices now ensure happy habitation later.
Debbie Farson is the owner/operator of HomeWise Referrals, Inc., www.homewisereferrals.com. HomeWise has been taking the hassle out of home improvement for Metro DC area homeowners, by referring them to licensed outstanding contractors and following up to ensure satisfaction, since 2002. Debbie is a PSL member and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-360-8222.
Originally published on HomeWise Referrals