It’s no secret that as we age our needs will change, and we may need to try doing things a little differently. Whether you want to adapt your home now or you’re simply thinking about the future, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what kind of changes you might want to make to your home and lifestyle. We’ve put together some tips and suggestions to help you think about your future and what you could do to make your life a little easier and your home more comfortable as you age.
Why should I think about adapting my home or life now?
Nobody wants to think about being unable to look after themselves. However, anticipating what needs you might have at an older age is one of the ways that you could stay independent and living in your own home for longer.
Making small adaptions to your home could help make it a more comfortable place to live, while also reducing the chance of falls and accidents and the resulting cost of care of those accidents. As well as that, simple changes to your lifestyle and finances could help you to keep on top of things as you age. Let’s have a look at some of the ways you can adapt your home and make some changes that could help make life a little easier in the future…
Simple changes that can be made around the house
A well-lit home is a safe home
While this may seem a little obvious, making sure you have proper lighting in your home is essential. When each room is lit up, you’ll be able to move about comfortably while obstacles or hazards can be clearly seen. When making adaptions, you might want to think about installing motion-sensor lights that turn on automatically when you enter a room or get out of bed.
Get rid of obvious hazards
This could be the perfect time to declutter your home. Over the years, your furniture may have built up leaving you with little room to move about, or you could have various trip hazards around the house. According to Age UK, falls are the most common cause of injury-related deaths in people over the age of 75 and in 2017/18 nearly 100,000 people aged 65+ suffered hip fractures. So it’s important to make preventing falls a priority.
Have a look at each room and visualise how you would move around it and through it if you had reduced mobility or needed a wheelchair. Consider rearranging furniture to ensure there is a clear pathway through each room. As well as that, if you have lots of bare wooden floors in your home you may want to put down some rugs to create a less slippery surface to walk on. If you do this, it could be a good idea to get some anti-slip mats that can go under loose rugs to provide a more stable footing.
Swap your kitchen storage around
If you typically put your most-used kitchen utensils and groceries on higher shelves in your kitchen, you should make sure they’re at an easily reachable height or swapped to lower shelving or cupboards. Anything that you have to stretch or use a step to reach could be a hazard and cause you to have an accident.
You might also want to invest in some storage solutions to make your cupboards a bit more organised. Things like a rotating tray, tiered and stackable shelving, or organising trays and dividers can help you to utilise the space you have while also making it easy to see what groceries you’ve got.
Make your bathroom a step-free zone
As we age, it’s normal that we lose a bit of our mobility and one place in the home where this could be particularly noticeable is the bathroom. Bathtubs and raised showers could pose a problem if your balance isn’t quite what it used to be. Consider opting instead for a level access shower or wet room. That way you won’t have to worry about climbing over a bath to get in or out or tripping on a shower step or lip.
Consider moving essential rooms downstairs
This is a step you may want to take if you do have significantly reduced mobility at an older age and using stairs becomes an issue. Something that requires a bit of work but could make your life much simpler is moving your bedroom and bathroom to the ground floor. If you already have a suitable bathroom downstairs, it could be relatively easy to move your bedroom into a different room. But if you think it will require more work than that you should speak to a qualified professional who can help you safely adapt your home in this way.
Alternatively, if stairs are becoming a bit difficult to manage but you still feel comfortable using them, you could have some handrails installed. A fitted, sturdy handrail will give you some support going up and down stairs and could help make it a lot safer. Handrails aren’t just for stairs, if you want you could also attach one to your bed, or beside the toilet or shower in your bathroom so that you have a helping hand when you need it.
Other ways you can help to make your life a little easier
Make the most of good technology
With today’s technology, managing our day-to-day lives has never been simpler. Whether you use your phone, your computer, or a tablet, access to a whole range of helpful tools is usually just an arm’s reach away.
In fact, there are online resources for almost anything you can think of. Let’s have a look at a few resources that you might find useful…
Age UK offers helpful advice and information on things like looking after yourself later in life, specific legal issues you might have, and ways to manage your money. They also have some great articles to help you manage your mental and physical health.
As you grow older, you’ll need to eat lots of nutritious food and vitamins to help you stay strong and healthy. From ensuring you maintain a balanced diet to cooking healthy recipes, this guide by the NHS has all the information you need to keep on track.
As well as making sure we’re eating the right foods and fuelling our bodies properly, it’s important to keep active too. As you age, you might find some exercises no longer suit you, or you don’t have as much time for particular hobbies. If that’s the case, there are plenty of online resources that can help you stay fit from home. The NHS have some handy fitness guides, or if you’d prefer a guided class there are lots to choose from on YouTube. Here’s an example of a workout for seniors put together by fitness coach Joe Wicks.
Simplify your finances
Find out what you have, and where it is
One of the most helpful things you can do when dealing with your finances as you age is ensuring that you are storing your information properly. After all, how can you manage your money if you’re not entirely sure where it is? According to Age UK, millions of pounds lie unclaimed in inactive accounts across the UK. This is largely due to people forgetting about dormant bank accounts or losing important information about where their savings are stored.
Try to put some dedicated time aside to go through your finances and make sure every important document has its own place and can be easily found by you, or a family member if needed. If you’re concerned that you may have ‘lost’ a bank account, stocks, a pension, or other financial accounts, you can find advice to help you track it down here.
Review your bills
While you’re making your home more comfortable, it’s a good time to review how much you’re spending on your household bills. If you think you’re paying too much it’s a good idea to have a look at other energy providers to see if you could save some money.
Ask for a helping hand
If the thought of managing your money alone as you age makes you feel anxious or overwhelmed, consider asking a trusted loved one to help. You don’t have to hand over all control but showing them how you like to use and manage your money now means that they could help you if you need it later in your life. It also means you’ll have help keeping on top of bills and debts and there will be another person to keep an eye on your finances to watch out for any suspicious activity.
Put a plan in place for the future
Most people tend to avoid thinking about their own funerals as it can be uncomfortable and upsetting. However, funerals can be quite expensive so you might want to have a plan in place to help pay for yours to avoid the responsibility falling on your loved ones. Securing life insurance could help you to ensure that there’s some money there to help pay for end-of-life expenses when it’s needed most. As well as that, you could use a life insurance policy to leave behind a lump sum gift for your loved ones.
Here when you need us
None of us know what lies ahead, but preparing as best as we can could help us to adjust quicker to any changes we might face later in life. Aging is a normal part of life after all, so it makes sense to think about how our lives may be different in the future. And with a few small and simple changes, you can help make your home more comfortable, and your lifestyle a little easier to manage.
If you would like to explore your options when it comes to life insurance, we’re happy to help. You can talk to one of our friendly UK-based team today to find out more information or to secure your policy in minutes online or over the phone. Our Over 50s Life Insurance is guaranteed acceptance for any UK resident aged 50-80, so once it’s in place you can relax with one less thing to worry about.