If you’re recently retired, or you’re getting close to that day, there are plenty of post retirement strategies to consider if you intend to stay in the family home rather than sell and downsize.
As the years go on, the family home that once perfectly suited your lifestyles as you raised your children, or lived an active middle-aged lifestyle, will no longer suit your retirement needs.
Unfortunately, getting older for most of us means we start slowing down as the years of youthful activities will eventually catch up with us. For some, we may find that our mobility is affected. And as our ability to get around starts to become compromised our lovely homes will start to work against us.
This is the time to consider how your home might need to change to suit your future needs.
Speaking with a growing number of client’s, we are increasingly providing solutions to assist retirees with renovation plans. Renovating the family home allows them to remain comfortably settled into the future. For other clients, we have discussed granny flat options which join the main family home to the secondary dwelling.
So let’s look at some of the changes you might like to consider for your family home as you move toward retirement.
The ability to move quickly, freely and unencumbered should be a priority within the home. The capacity to access all areas of your home with ease should be considered. If you have a multi-level home, reflect on how you navigate from level to level within your home. Do you have to carry groceries up stairs? Do you need to use stairs to enter or leave the home? How can you best arrange your home’s design to ensure the accessibility and functionality of the home respond to your needs? Do you have any particularly slippery floor surfaces or loose floor coverings that can be dangerous and should be removed or replaced?
Ramps are a useful addition to the home, particularly if they can replace or at least complement existing stairs. Many people think ramps are only useful for those in wheelchairs but ramps and stairs with handrails are convenient necessities for those who suffer from balance and mobility difficulties.
For two-storey properties with internal stairs, a better option might be to install a home lift, platform lift or a wheelchair stair lift depending on your budget and needs.
Lifts, once considered an extravagance, are now becoming more common and can add real value to your home. They can also look quite stunning, particularly those with glass walls and doors that allow you to enjoy the view of the interior of your home as you travel from floor to floor.
Kitchens are an important area to review. Keep in mind the large kitchen that was used to make family meals each night will most likely not be as functional when you move to your retirement years. Reducing the number of steps between the food prep and food storage areas can make the kitchen a lot more practical and easier to manage. Having storage located at a more appropriate height will be more practical. Any design that requires lots of bending and standing can place a strain on the joints and lower back, so a solution which allows you to sit while preparing food is advisable.
Bathroom & Toilet
The bathroom is another space that needs some careful planning. Features within the wet-areas should ensure that safety is the priority. For example, a no-step shower could form part of your post-retirement renovation. They are safer and look fantastic. They also have the added benefit of being wheelchair friendly if and when needed.
Non-slip tiles are a must and handrails should also be considered, particularly in the shower and toilet. Keep in mind that your walls may need some reinforcing before the handrails are installed. If your bathroom still has the old style tapware, flick mixers are a great alternative.
Living areas & bedrooms
Space is an important consideration, and retirement is the perfect excuse to have a clean-up. Decluttering living areas and bedrooms, removing unnecessary items can give you more space. I tend to think strategically when it comes to planning rooms. A sturdy, well-positioned piece of furniture can be quite useful as a balancing point or focal point for your room.
Consider what the room will be used for. Lighting could be particularly important. Plenty of natural light is healthy and beneficial, but it’s important that any curtains or blinds are accessible and easy to operate. It might be worth considering additional lighting for night time.
Commonly I’ve noticed that retirement incomes seem to remain steady, while the cost of living increases. Running the family home is more expensive, and it’s little wonder that many retirees find they have a lot less disposable income than they had planned. I have written some articles about the benefits of converting the family home into a dual occupancy residence. This has the advantage of not only reducing the amount of space that you need to maintain but also gives you an additional rental income stream that can make your retirement far more comfortable. Plus if you renovate your family home it doesn’t attract capital gains tax if you eventually decide to sell it.
I found more commonly parents who’ve reached the age of retirement, far from being empty nesters, have found themselves with their children, and often grandchildren, moving back in with them.
This is often a result of the rising cost of living and the need to save money for children to buy a home of their own. But of course, most retirees are looking for some privacy. In this situation, a dual occupancy renovation or secondary dwelling offers a significant advantage as each family unit has their own space. Parents enjoy the additional rental income and security from having family close-by, while their children have the opportunity to rent at a cheaper rate than might otherwise have been the case.
As you can see, there is a range of things to consider as you come to the end of your working career. At dion seminara architecture we have plenty of experience in these forms of renovations and can help you make the right choices when it comes to adapting your family home to your future needs. Examples of these types of projects can be seen here in our Indooroopilly Retirement Renovation and our Ashgrove Secondary Dwelling.
So whether you’ve recently retired, or you’re getting close to that point, why not call us to discuss your options. I’m confident we can help your family home adapt to your changing needs.