As you age, your home may no longer suit your needs — but moving may not be of interest to you. In fact, 76% of Baby Boomers own their homes, and more than half don’t plan on buying a different one in the future, according to research by Chase Bank.
“Nearly nine in ten Boomer survey respondents are looking to make improvements to their current homes — suggesting that they’re in it for the long haul,” according to the research.
Fortunately, several trends in home design can make your home safe and comfortable for years to come.
Master suite on the main floor
Eliminating the need to climb up and down stairs on a frequent basis could be a priority. By creating a master suite on the main floor of your house, you can easily access the necessities without adding stress to joints or risking a fall.
If you have an office, separate living area, or even a garage on your main floor, you can work with a contractor to transform the space into a bedroom.
Antimicrobial materials and finishes
Antimicrobial materials can be found in flooring, paint, and copper fixtures, according to Forbes. One change you can make is to install cork flooring, which has the added benefit of being water-resistant and will help prevent mildew in damp places like the kitchen or bathroom.
Another change is to install quartz countertops, which don’t have the cracks and joints of other materials so are easy to clean.
“While marble countertops are very much on-trend, they aren’t the most practical finish because it’s a porous stone that scratches easily,” according to Forbes. “When countertops become scratched, bacteria can settle into those grooves, making them more challenging to disinfect.”
Lifting a leg to get into a shower can be dangerous, so you can eliminate that step up to avoid tripping and slipping.
“A zero-threshold shower allows a person to continue to manage their own hygiene without help, and it allows for any sort of mobility issue to be more easily managed,” according to Home Stratosphere. “Wheelchair? No problem. Walker? It can be handled.”
Self-regulating ventilation or lighting
Some small tasks become major inconveniences when mobility or memory is an issue. For example, crossing a room to go to bed after turning off the light can be fraught, and forgetting to adjust the thermostat can lead to uncomfortable temperatures and high bills.
An easy fix is to install smart lighting, switches, outlets, thermostats, and other devices. You can then control them with timers, remotes, or phone apps: You can link a light to a smart speaker and use your voice to turn it on or off from bed. You can put a thermostat on a timer. You can set a door to automatically lock after you unlock it or at certain times of day.
Paying for home renovations
While you likely will have to pay for some renovations, your health insurance might help.
“Depending on the nature of the modification, it may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance,” according to United Disabilities Services. “Check with your local Area on Aging or state Housing Finance Agency to learn more about financial assistance for aging in place design.”
When you make the changes you need, you can look forward to many more years in a home where you feel happy.