In the 21st century, a growing number of people are spending as many years in retirement as they did at work. We all spend the occasional idle moment dreaming of what those days will be like, having the freedom to do the things we want to do, reacquainting ourselves with long-delayed hobbies and enjoying the company of grandchildren in a home where decades of memories have been made.
For those of us who are fortunate enough to live into our 80s and 90s, there is, however, a less idyllic side to consider. Inevitably, we become a less agile in later years, and that can lead to difficulties with things we once took for granted, such as getting in and out of bed, taking a bath or even going up and down the stairs.
Future proof your home
Given the choice, the vast majority of older people would prefer to avoid the aggravation and stress of a house move, especially one that is borne of necessity. Future-proofing your home for retirement is all about thinking ahead and making those changes that will ensure your house can remain your home whatever challenges the years ahead might have in store.
It is all about looking at every area of your house from a pragmatic perspective and asking yourself how you would manage to carry out everyday tasks if you were, for example, using a wheelchair. Let’s take a room-by-room look at some of the things you might want to consider.
Even the most sprightly of us will admit that it is easy to slip while getting in and out of a bathtub. It’s little wonder that this is the most common room in which to take a tumble. There are plenty of options when it comes to making your bathroom safer, depending on your needs and your budget. For example, installing grab bars beside the toilet and in the shower cubicle makes a lot of sense, as it is inexpensive and the work can be done in a matter of minutes.
If you are someone who enjoys the luxury of a bath, there is no reason to forego the experience just because you are not as agile as you used to be. There are several different types of walk-in baths on the market, and while these are, of course, a little more costly to buy and install, it is an investment you will not regret.
Boiling kettles, hot ovens, bubbling saucepans – what could possibly go wrong in the kitchen? Here, the key is accessibility. For wheelchair users, a dropped worktop makes all the difference in the world so you can see what you are doing and not be overreaching. It is also worth investing in all those handy little gadgets like not-slip pads and bottle openers, just to make life that bit easier.
We are unlikely to be at our most alert first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Yet this is when we are faced with the task of getting in and out of bed, something that can become a real challenge in later years.
Mobility beds don’t just make things safer, they also mean you won’t be dreading the bedtime routine. And the even better news is that the sort on the market today look just like ordinary beds, so your bedroom will not take on the appearance of a hospital ward!
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