Independent Retirement Living
is Very Possible
Everyone wants to have independent retirement living in their own home for as long as possible. Universal design homes can help make that a reality. It enables you to live the lifestyle that you want in your retirement home.
The definition of independent retirement living is that you need to be healthy and able to take care of yourself without assistance for daily living activities, such as, dressing and personal care.
Other services needed that you might require, such as cleaning services, etc. can always be contracted to fill that need for you.
When an occasional need arises for personal or medical care you can arrange for that assistance to be brought in to help.
Needs and Capabilities Change
I am a young retiree in my fifties. I notice some of the signs of aging already and they say I could live another 30 to 40 years in retirement.
I am helping my parents, who are in their eighties, and can see how life can change - from walking to thinking and everything in between, like bending and kneeling.
I made changes to help them continue to live independently, which is what they prefer. I want them to live safely, comfortably, and independently with the best quality of life that is possible.
You need to consider what is necessary to maintain the ability to do normal daily activities.
There Is Help Available
Today you can see more and more new homes designed to accommodate as many phases of life as possible, in addition to, as many different individual needs as possible, enabling independently retirement living.
There are also things you can do to your existing home to make your home more livable. Some simple and inexpensive things that can enable your independent retirement living are...
Levers versus Knobs
You can replace the door knobs throughout the house with easy-to-use levers. You no longer would need to try to grip the knob and try to turn it. We have already done this in our home on some of the most used doors. Even if you hands are full you can open the door with your fore-arm or elbow.
A related change you can make to your existing home is to change any faucet knobs to levers on all sinks, tubs and showers. We have not done this yet, but we soon will.
Adding pull-out shelves to all cabinets throughout the house would provide easier access to items stored even in the back of the cabinets. I have seen these shelves available in various sizes to fit existing cabinets.
One Level Living
Independent retirement living will most likely mean having all living space on only one level - not even one step. The condo my parents own is that way - all on one level. That is especially important once assisted mobility devises are needed, such as, walkers or wheelchairs.
Ease of Access
Light switches could be lowered just a little - about 6 inches. Replacing the regular switches with the rocker-style switches makes it easier to turn the lights on or off. Raising the electrical outlets about 6 inches puts them in a more accessible location for everyone.
You could change your standard tub to a walk in shower with little or no lip to step over. This minimizes or removes the obstacle to climb over to get into the tub/shower.
Adjustable height closet rods are essential. These can be raised or lowered as needs change.
Replacing the toilet with one that is 2 to 4 inches higher than the standard toilet (it is often called the comfort height) makes a big difference as you age. Risers can also be purchased - which are easily installed and removed. A toilet that is 17 to 19 inches high is comfortable for most all adults.
The next time you need to buy a washer and dryer, or sooner if the need is urgent, buy a front loading washer and place both the washer and dryer on a raised platform for easier access with less bending and reaching.
Alternative Living Arrangements
If making changes in your existing home still does not enable you to enjoy independent retirement living, there are alternative living arranges that can be very acceptable.
There are independent living communities where you either own or rent a home, condominium, apartment, etc. where you would have maintenance free living.
Other arrangements could include various additional levels of services, such as, on-call assistance, laundry, group meals, and transportation for an additional fee.
Independent retirement living means something different to every person. You can customize the independent living with which you are most comfortable.
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