Tips For Designing A Home You'll Live In During Retirement
If you are approaching retirement age and are about to design the home you plan to live in throughout this next stage of life, congratulations. You've worked hard, and you deserve to enjoy a custom home built to meet your own needs. One thing to keep in mind throughout this endeavor, however, is that your needs can change rapidly after the age of 50 or 60. A home designed to meet your needs right now may not meet them in 10 years. As such, it's important to design your home with your future needs, as an older adult, in mind. Here are some design tips that apply to your situation.
1. Include an office.
Right now, as you have just retired, the idea of working at all might not appeal to you. But a few years down the road, when you are feeling a bit bored, who knows? You might want to start your own home business or do some part-time work from home. A home office will come in really handy then. In the meantime, it will be the perfect place to keep your bills and other paperwork organized so they don't end up scattered all over your kitchen table and living room.
2. Widen the doorways.
When designing the doorways throughout your home, make sure they are at least 32 inches wide. If you have space to include 34- or 36-inch doorways, that is even better. This increased width allows anyone in a wheelchair to pass through the doorway more easily, which may come in handy if you are ever injured or need to spend time in a wheelchair down the road. Having doorways widened after the fact can be one of the most expensive aspects of making a home accessible, so you'll potentially save yourself thousands with this one design element. An open floor plan with fewer doorways, in general, is easier for someone in a wheelchair to navigate.
3. Stick with one story.
You can get up and down stairs just fine right now, but that will change as you get older. Even mild arthritis can make going up and down stairs a pain. Designing a one-story ranch home will make things much easier on you as you age. You won't end up with upstairs rooms that you paid for but barely use!
4. Opt for a large bathroom.
It's common for people designing homes to see large bathrooms as a waste of space. However, when you're designing a home for older adults, a spacious bathroom really is the best choice. More space will give you the option of entering the bathroom in a wheelchair. It will also make it easier to add an accessible bathtub or shower at a later date, if needed. (You don't necessarily need to include an accessible tub right off the bat if you're still pretty agile — this is an easy upgrade to make down the road, and you'll probably want a new tub or shower in 15 years, anyway.)
5. Include lots of lighting.
As you continue to age, you may have trouble with visual impairment and cataracts. Having a well-lit home will make it easier for you to continue cooking, reading, and doing other things you love. Make sure your home designer includes not only overhead lights but also task lighting in your home design. Examples of task lighting include under-cabinet lights, lights above the mirror in the bathroom, and lights inside cabinets and closets.
With the design tips above, you'll have an easier time creating a home that serves you not only now, but in 10, 20, and even 30 years. Get in touch with a building design company to learn more about making your home plans.