Running a business is easy compared to what’s in store for you when you’re growing older. Let me explain.
Either you’re entering retirement stage of your career or still active in pursuing business opportunities years to come, you’ll eventually have to make one (of many!) tough decision: What you should do with your home when things are becoming too difficult to navigate around?
Seriously speaking, growing older isn’t easy, and it’s never harder than when you are forced to make decisions about your living situation. For example, seniors who grew up in cold weather may find themselves struggling with ice and snow, forcing them to consider a choice between a home in a warmer climate and proximity to their hometown and family. If you are a business owner, things are even more challenging: What to do with your business when you’re moving out?
But fear not – in this article, we’ll cover your possible life at an old age, including how to deal with the challenges related to your living spaces.
Home (not so) sweet home
Plane rides, moving companies, and car shipping services can help seniors split their time between the two locations, but many seniors eventually end up living year-round in the warmer place. Others may find that they need less space after their kids have moved out. There are a lot of ways in which one’s living situation and needs can change in old age.
And there’s no more painful way to have your living situation change than to discover that you’re no longer able to live in your own home. Giving up your house voluntarily to move to Florida or California is one thing; being forced to leave it because you can’t navigate it safely is another thing entirely. And when we buy homes in our 20s, 30s, and 40s, we often don’t consider how those homes will suit us when we’re in our 60s, 70s, 80s, and (hopefully!) 90s. To seniors, a lifelong home can slowly begin to feel like an obstacle course.
Stairs that you once took two at a time may become tiring. Perhaps they seem too steep. You’re worried you’ll fall down them – or perhaps you already have.
A short step down into a recessed living room isn’t as big of a problem as a full set of stairs to most people. But for wheelchair-bound seniors, one step might as well be two dozen.
Showers are dangerous places for seniors, too. It gets slippery in there, and the space is full of hard surfaces. Getting in the bath is better – until you have to get back out!
And seniors who live alone may worry that if an accident does happen to them, there will be nobody there to see and help, and no way for them to report the problem themselves.
With all of these dangers, it’s easy to see why some seniors give up their homes and move: to ranch-style houses, in with their children, or to a retirement home or nursing home facility. But that’s a painful thing, and seniors may want to put it off as long as possible.
The good news is that there are ways to do just that.
Delay leaving your home by countering its dangers
Seniors with the means to invest in home remodeling jobs will find that there is an entire industry dedicated to helping people like them stay in their homes. By calling the right professionals, seniors can transform their home into a space that suits their changing needs and protects them from the dangers unique to seniors.
Stairs are a real danger to seniors, so those who can will often move their living quarters to the ground flood. But not all homes have bedrooms on the ground floor, and even with a ground-floor bedroom, it will sometimes be necessary to go upstairs. Thankfully, there are companies that make chairlifts to help seniors conquer the stairs safely. While they’re not cheap, these installations can help keep seniors in their homes for a long time.
Contractors can also replace shorter sets of stairs with gentle ramps, which is perfect for seniors in wheelchairs and those who have trouble with their knees and legs. Make sure that your house is accessible inside and out, so that you never have trouble entering – or leaving, which you could have to do in a hurry in the event of an emergency.
Bathrooms are dangerous places for seniors, so calling in experts in piping (including cutting-edge modern piping systems – if you’re getting work done, you might as well update your systems and improve the value of your property), plumbing, and specialized bathroom fixtures is an absolute must for elderly folks hoping to extend their time in their homes. That last item is the most important for seniors. A mat on the floor of the shower isn’t enough to protect you, so look for showers designed specifically for seniors (expect lots of handles and safety systems) and walk-in tubs, which use a door to eliminate the high sides of a tub (which are treacherous for seniors to step over when getting in and out) and usually have a seat to keep seniors in place (to avoid slipping down under the water).
Finally, it’s a good idea to invest in a system for contacting loved ones or (better yet) emergency services in the event of a slip and fall. Rather than worry about always having a cell phone on you, you can choose to invest in an alert system like LifeAlert or one of its competitors, which can bring you aid at the touch of a button.
Hopefully, of course, you won’t need it – and you’ll certainly be less likely to need it if you modify your home to counteract the dangers it presents to elderly residents. Growing older is tough, but you can make it a little easier by choosing to customize your home to suit your needs. If you make the right choices, you can extend the time you have in the home you love.
Good luck in your business and retirement planning!