If you’re retired or coming up to retirement, you might be thinking about whether you want to stay in your home, move to a smaller property or relocate somewhere completely new.
Many retirees choose to downsize, often to a cheaper house, enabling them to benefit from equity they’ve built up in their current home. In fact, with the average house price in the UK standing at £277,000, downsizers are finding this can be a fairly lucrative option.
But some approaching retirement choose to stay in their current property for several reasons. This could be due to the sentimental value of the home, the lifestyle they enjoy in a particular area or to stay close to neighbours, friends and family.
If you want to make the most of your house for many years to come or you’re undecided about moving, we’ll take a look at ways you could adapt your property to suit you during your later years.
Home adaptations for seniors and those taking retirement can mean a variety of things to different people. But we’ll explore the main considerations when looking at ways you can adapt your home for life to ensure it remains a comfortable and enjoyable place to live.
Although this might not be much of an issue now, accessibility is a key factor to consider if you’re intending on staying where you are. Unfortunately, becoming less mobile is an aspect of getting older, so it makes sense to future-proof your home as much as possible. This doesn’t mean fitting a bunch of hospital-style equipment to every wall or room – you could make subtle changes that will make getting around your house easier and safer when you get older.
Considering any potential barriers in your current home is the first step when thinking about mobility home adaptations for independence. Here are some elements you might want to assess:
Stairs – This includes both external steps, such as those leading from your door to the path or driveway, and internal stairs. Adding outside lighting could make exterior steps safer while handrails both inside and out will increase accessibility. There is also the option of a stair-lift if stairs become more of a problem in the future.
Bathroom – This is often a major factor when making home adaptations for independence, especially if the space currently consists of a bath with an overhead shower. You could think about adding a modern wet room for easy access and contemporary rails to assist mobility.
Downstairs extension – If you have the space and the funds, a ground-floor extension could offer an ideal area for a downstairs bathroom, toilet or even a spare bedroom. These additions could also come in handy if you have the grandkids over to stay.
Storage – While many people tend to store items away in unused rooms such as the attic or cellar, it’s a good idea to sort through your belongings and relocate what you might need to more accessible places.
As people get older, they often feel more vulnerable in their homes – especially if living alone. While it’s a good idea to make your home as secure as possible at every stage in life, there are a few ways to add to your peace of mind as you enter retirement:
Alarm system – You might already have a quality burglar alarm but, if not, now’s the time to get one fitted. Make sure to also cover outbuildings such as a garage, particularly if you keep valuables stored there.
Lighting – Motion-sensor lighting is a good deterrent, and you could also ensure your outdoor spaces are well lit at night.
Video doorbells – These allow you to see who’s at the door before you answer it, so you can avoid opening it to salespeople or someone you might not know.
Window and door locks – Keep doors locked even while you’re in and be mindful of leaving windows open, especially at night. If your locks are old, it might be worth investing in newer, more secure devices from a reputable company.
Community alarm system – The government offers free home security for pensioners in certain areas of the UK, consisting of a community alarm to help support independent living. The government website can tell you whether your local council offers this service.
Retirement hobbies at home
One focus of adapting your home to suit your retirement needs is likely to be how you plan on using your space now you’re no longer working. You might want to dedicate a room or area to a particular hobby, such as converting a basement into a sewing room or creating an art studio for painting. Just remember to bear accessibility in mind.
If you’ve made use of a home office over the past few years but no longer have the same needs, you could transform that into a reading room or even a walk-in wardrobe! And if you have grandchildren over to stay, you might want to focus on setting up a bedroom or playroom for them.
The garden is also another area you might wish to adapt or improve. If you plan on spending a lot of time planting and attending to shrubs and flowers, make sure your green patch is easily accessible. You might want to add paths, raised flowerbeds or extra seating so you can enjoy your outdoor space.
Can you release equity for home improvements?
If you’re considering ways to adapt your home for life and want to make some changes, you might be wondering how you’ll afford it. Releasing some of the equity in your property could enable you to future-proof your home with home adaptations for independence, security and mobility.
Equity release will reduce the value of your estate and may affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits.
Key Equity Release offers lifetime mortgages only, which is a loan secured against your home. Lifetime mortgages are the most popular form of equity release. Our equity release advice relates to our range of Key branded products only, and our fixed advice fee of £899 is only payable on completion of a plan.