Prepare your home for retirement

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Author: Jack Tatar |

Retiring requires much preparation. You need to ensure that you have your finances in order. You should have a plan to maintain your health and nurture your social networks. But have you ever thought that preparing for retirement also requires that you “ready your home” for your golden years?

Well that was the great advice that a reader of my articles gave me recently. In an email message (I read them all), Mr. John Elias told me of how he helped his father get his home “retirement ready” and how he was glad that he had and felt that it would be good advice for others.

Well John, I agree!

John told me of how he did some “small stuff” such as replacing difficult to reach light bulbs with high efficiency and longer lasting bulbs. In this way, he could not only keep the energy costs down but the “task visits” down as well. For John, it wasn’t about making fewer visits to his dad, but ensuring that his dad was as independent as possible. He would rather watch the baseball game with his dad rather than doing home repairs on a regular basis.

John also included some “bigger ticket” items on the list such as replacing aging hot water heaters, older windows and even a new roof. By taking care of these items early, you recognize the costs within your current budget and don’t encounter big ticket costs at an unexpected time. Plus the energy credits of today can help.

I thought of my past solar panel purchase as a way to incur a current cost in return for lowered electrical costs in the future as a similar thought.

Here’s a few other things to consider as well:

  • Consider the entrances to your house — Think of the potential for falls and “high steps”. Is there a way to make the entrance more accessible for all?
  • Fitness equipment in the house — There are many senior programs at local gyms and the social aspect is great, but having a treadmill in the house can make it easier for a retiree to do their required exercise program.
  • Install surveillance systems — This can be a life saver. Paying for it now and utilizing the technology advancements to allow for family members to access it can be the difference between life and death.
  • Are your floors safe? — Those hard wood floors look great but can they provide an opportunity for dangerous falls? Consider flooring that is more safe, such as carpet or safe floor coverings.
  • Does your bathroom need a makeover?— It may be a time to consider a no step shower or a sit in shower to make the bathing process easier in the future.
  • A Power generator? — Phillip Moeller writes in his US News Money column how a power generator may also be a good consideration.

I’d recommend that you have a look around your house and prior to going strictly into your retirement income, evaluate any purchases and modifications that can not only lower your future costs, but protect your independence and well being in retirement as well. This can also be a great thing to incorporate into that all important“talk” between adult children and their parents.

I thank John and his email for providing these tips and I look forward to any ideas that other readers have on this subject or any other subject.

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