More and more seniors face rapidly rising costs during retirement and are choosing to age in place rather than move into a retirement community. While this is often a more affordable option, some important renovations are necessary to make a home senior-friendly. Luckily, you can find a variety of ways to pay for needed repairs that include:
- Removing a traditional tub and installing either a walk-in shower or a walk-in tub with door
- Grab-bar installation around bathroom or bedroom areas
- Entryway ramps to reduce trips and falls or enable wheelchair access
- Easy-grip faucet and doorknob replacements
- Improve thermal efficiency and provide additional heating options;
- Widening doorways for wheelchair access;
- Installation of a separate cooktop with a higher side oven or lower microwave
- Security and wellness monitoring systems
Other aging in place home modifications can be made, including the use of smart technology and chairlifts for two-story homes. Many things depend upon a senior’s level of mobility and dexterity. This can change over time, especially with the progression of chronic illness, so it’s wise to make today’s renovations with an eye toward changing future needs. Don’t forget routine maintenance that every homeowner needs to complete; neglecting certain projects such as deck repair and walkway upkeep can create dangerous conditions that increase the chances for injury.
Finance options: Box stores
Home improvement box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s typically offer 12- to 24-month finance-free options on qualified purchases and services. Depending on the nature of the job, they may be able to furnish contractors to complete the necessary work, which can give seniors and caregivers a convenient alternative for completing renovations and financing the project at the same time.
Finance options: Credit cards
It may be ill-advised to use credit cards for larger amounts, but sometimes new cardholders can get introductory rates like the box store offers. As long as the balance is paid off in the allotted time, it may even be possible to obtain interest-free or low-interest rates for opening a new account. Monitor this option carefully, because any remaining balance that moves into high-interest repayment can quickly balloon out of control.
Finance options: Refinance
Larger jobs may require a mortgage refinance or a home equity loan, which usually provide much lower rates than credit cards and enable payments to be spread out or amortized over a longer period. If you’re helping a family member navigate finance options but haven’t yet purchased a home yourself, you can research questions like “what is a fixed rate home loan?” or “how does a home equity loan work?” or “what is a reverse mortgage?” before consulting with your loved ones on the best course of action.
Government grants and programs may be available to individuals or local charities that aid seniors. Retirees often pride themselves on self-reliance and may be reluctant to seek grant money but obtaining assistance that doesn’t require repayment means more money can be reserved for medications, monthly utility bills, or household necessities.
Those without the means to obtain financing can also seek assistance including donations and volunteer services from their local church. Many churches have a well-oiled network of systems and trusted service providers to make an important mobility-driven renovation for disadvantaged members in the community.
Aging in place is a much more agreeable solution for people who love their home, their privacy, and their independence. Even so, it can be difficult to think about or discuss the prospect of losing one’s mobility and independence as they get older yet broaching the subject early and empowering seniors with specific renovations can have a major impact on quality of life and overall happiness and security.