They say “Home is Where The Heart Is”….and it’s true. A home is so much more than a house.
It’s weeknight dinners around the table. A pile of toy trucks in the corner of the living room.
It’s Christmas morning spent together unwrapping presents by the tree.
It’s hours together, just being, making memories, and growing as a family.
Our home is filled with joy. I cherish the family we’ve raised here and look forward to so many memories we have yet to make. Although we’re years away from retiring…I never want to think about leaving.
And we’re not the only family to feel this way. Did you know that 90% of adults over fifty want to age in place?
Americans want to live out their lives in the home’s they love, in the walls that still gather children and grandchildren together for Thanksgiving meals.
This “age in place” idea, although growing in popularity, isn’t really a trend I expect to see fade out anytime soon. We all crave the comforts of home! And since the stay at home orders of the 2020 pandemic? All of us, young and old, are cherishing where we live more.
Caring for All Generations: Around the World
For American’s it’s a new(er) movement. But many countries around the world have a culture of supporting elderly family members. How is multi-generational living normalized in other places?
In India, newlyweds move in with the groom’s family to help and support them in the stages of life. The mother-in-law suite is America’s take on this.
The Netherlands- they have very compassionate views on elder care. The Netherlands is home to Hogeway Village. Half of the village consists of trained caregivers and the other half is dementia patients. Hogeway allows the elderly to live on their own with support from a community.
Community building is an important factor to consider to age in place.
In France, home care is offered to elderly people and children are required by law to visit their parents regularly! In fact, France is rated as one of the best places to retire due to their increased care for their elderly population.
We’re so happy to see our country’s perception of elderly members shift in a positive direction.
But it takes more than just a cultural structure to make it a success. You also need the physical structure to adapt to changing mobility needs.
Lucky for us, Pennsylvania’s popular ranch-style houses make places like Schuylkill County an amazing area to spend your golden years. Whether you’re helping a family member make the adjustments to age in place, or you yourself are interested, there are simple proactive steps you can take to live at your own home- independently- through your 60s, 70s, 80s+
Here’s the key takeaway: You must start making these upgrades before you need them.
I want you to enjoy your home for the rest of your life. So this week I’ve put together a decade-by-decade approach to age in place, featuring the best home remodels to make in every season of life.
Home Upgrades To Make In Your 50s: Focus On The Outside
Entering your 50s often means your home is kid-free!
Maybe you just sent your youngest to college, or helped move them into their first apartment. Now you’re facing a new, empty-nest life and it’s time to make some decisions that put you first.
Couples scan the market for something smaller or more affordable. Believe it or not, many home buyers in their 50’s aren’t looking to move across the country…often they buy in the same neighborhood!
It makes sense. Remember how community was a top priority for Americans looking to age in place? Having your children enter adulthood is a change enough. Most of us just want a smaller place with less upkeep, but enjoy the connections we’ve made in our community.
By house shopping in your same area, you keep the existing relationships you have with your neighborhood friends, your church, and your hobbies.
Started the hunt for a new home? Don’t just think in terms of bedrooms and bathrooms. Ask your realtor to show you houses with:
- Single level living
- Yard space for gardening
- Large door frames and entryways
Love your current home and plan to continue living there?
This is the time to invest in lasting changes to your home’s exterior.
Empty Nest Renovations: Install a New Roof
When was your roof installed? 1990 is further away than it seems!
As your roof ages, it doesn’t function the way it used to. Older roofs run the risk of:
- Water damage in your attic
- Drooping and sagging roof
- Deterioration around soffit and fascia
But why is now the best time to replace it?
“A drop of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
It’s cheaper and easier to care for your roof now than put it off and wait for issues to show up down the road. Besides, if you’re going to use your empty-nest years to travel a little more or take up a new hobby, the last thing you want to worry about is returning home from two weeks in Arizona to a leaking roof!
While a high-quality asphalt shingle roof will hold strong for your golden years, you might want to consider the resale value of your home. A metal roof has more than twice the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof- and is incredibly low maintenance.
If you’re interested in learning more about metal roofs, we cover the history, designs, and added benefits here.
Another pro tip? Consider installing gutter guards.
This quick installation cuts back on how often your gutters need to be cleaned. And with an estimated 135,000 people injured in ladder related accidents every year, it’s the safer choice, too.
Are You A Homeowner in Your 50s? Start Thinking Long-Term Comfort.
In addition to making sure your roof is in good shape- now is the time to think about long-term comfort.
You’re not as young…or as flexible…as you once were! Even if you are an avid DIYer, you want to set your home up so you don’t have a catastrophic emergency to handle. Make it easier on yourself by making a plan to update your major home systems, like your HVAC and hot water heater, to reduce the chance of system failure.
Also, plan for energy-savings to keep your retirement fund going strong. Replacing windows can not only add comfort to your home- but save you money on heating and cooling. Read more here on how our new vinyl windows can keep you cosy during those Pennsylvania winters and save you money in the long run.
Contact a reputable contractor (like us!) and start a long term relationship. Our crew can evaluate your home’s roof, foundation, exterior, and more to give you a good idea of what needs to be replaced now- and what can be done in phases over the next few years.
Sixties: The Decade of Accessibility
Welcome to your sixties!
At this point in your life, any upgrades made should add to accessibility and comfort. It’s time to finalize all the big changes in your home that you won’t want to think about later in life.
One of the most popular (and important) interior upgrades to make? A renovated bathroom.
Bathroom injuries are one of the leading causes of emergency room visits. In fact, studies show that 80% of falls in the home happen in the bathroom.
There are many changes you can make for added bathroom accessibility- like this walk-in shower:
It’s a great renovation that’s functional and fits into a modern aesthetic. Walk in showers are popular with the younger crowd and increase your home’s value.
More of a bath person? Aging in place doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort, only increasing it. For bathtub upgrades, consider:
- Placing grab bars by the tub
- Switching to a walk-in tub
- Installing a bathtub transfer bench
- Add slip resistant mats to high risk areas
- Install LED light bulbs for minimal replacement
- Opt for lever style door knobs, easier to use for homeowners with arthritis
Accessibility: Does It Decrease Home Value?
You know planning ahead is key to staying in your beloved home for as long as possible. You’ve probably considered upgrading your accessibility to minimize risk and increase your safety as you age in place. But how will that change the look of your home? And will it decrease the value?
Often, we’re asked about transforming homes into an open floor plan for added accessibility.
We highly recommend against this due to the increased dangers in the case of a fire. Open floor plans leave less time for a fire to burn, creating larger and hotter fires.
Instead, we recommend widening your pre-existing door frames. It’s a budget friendly and safe alternative!
As far as interior changes go, your kitchen will require the most attention, second only to your bathroom. A skilled contractor will be able to retrofit your kitchen and lower counters and appliances for easier access.
Want to know what younger home buyers think about “accessible” changes? I’ve got good news- read on.
A Front Porch: Relaxation and Socialization
Covid-19 has completely changed the way we do everything, including socializing.
Outdoor spaces are more important than ever. A front porch offers a space to socialize, relax, and enjoy nature.
We’ve seen a huge demand in our own customer base for porch and patio builds. Studies show that a quarter of all homebuyers list a front porch as an essential feature for their new home.
A front porch creates a space for relaxation and mediation. It’s also a safety-boosting upgrade for homeowners who plan to age in place.
A new front porch build means room for a ramp. Even if you remain fully mobile into your 90s, ramps are safer for year round use.
Steps leading up to your home are dangerous in extreme weather conditions. Ice and rain can cause them to become slick and frozen over. And with Schuylkill County winters as cold as 18.4°, and an average of 35 inches of snow, it’s important to create a safer way inside.
A Porch for Every Home
I’ll let you in on a little secret:
When you work with the right contractor, every home can be retrofitted for a new porch and a ramp.
Worried that adding a ramp will decrease the value of your home- or limit its sellability later down the road? Don’t be! Ramps are another addition that, when added to blend into the existing features of a home, are a welcome feature to younger homebuyers with small children.
We often hear homeowners worried that installing a new porch might compromise their home’s look. But it doesn’t have to!
Take the historic Burd Patterson home, for example. We talked about it when covering five historic homes in Schuylkill County. This home, built in 1830 features a beautiful Queen Anne Style home, added to the home 70 years after its original construction.
Creating accessible entrances that blend multiple levels isn’t always easy- but it can be done! Recently, we started work on upgrading a family home to accommodate a mother-in-law suite.
You can read more about the project and how excited our in-house architect is to work on it here.
Want to talk more about exterior accessibility for your home? Give us a call at 570-345-0436 to get started on your project.
Seventies: The Tech Decade
Yes, you read that right. We joke about feeling old whenever we upgrade to a new phone, but the older you get the more you’ll actually want to embrace technology in your everyday life.
Your seventies is the time to relax and enjoy all the hard work you’ve put in leading up to this point. If you’ve followed our advice, you don’t need to worry about essential home upgrades…you can enjoy what you’ve built!
In your 50s, you replaced your roof, your siding, and your windows.
You upgraded your hot water heater and HVAC in your 60s- and finished up some major accessibility construction. You’ve made the small changes, like replacing door knobs with lever handles…and the big changes like your bathroom remodel are already in place.
Now, let’s introduce some technology that can make your life that much easier.
The Best Tech for Your Home
#1 Keypad and Code: Instead of a front door knob and lock, opt for a keypad and code for your doors. This change is easier on homeowners with arthritis and joint pain and allows family or caregivers to enter without you having to get up from the kitchen table.
#2 Medical Alert Systems: If you age-in-place, especially if you live alone or are caring for a less-able spouse, you’ll want a way to alert medical help in the case of an accident. A medical alert bracelet isn’t your only option!
Amazon’s Alexa or a Google Home work great as alert systems.
Last year, Amazon updated Alexa’s features to help those who are or plan to age in place. The update allows family members to monitor when the Alexa was activated for the day, and also enhances communication between caregivers and those aging in place.
Besides working as an alert system, these devices are great for setting reminders and schedules. Having these types of systems in place can put your family at ease and keep the peace in your decision to stay at home.
#3 Motion Detected Lighting: Besides being eco-friendly, this style of lighting is perfect for easy navigation. No need to worry about struggling to locate a light switch at night. Simply get up and the sensors will automatically light your way.
These systems offer safety and comfort to age in place. Technology is creating more options for people of all ages, and is a great upgrade.
If you need help setting up your home with these new upgrades, recruit one of your tech savvy grandkids. They’d love to help!
Support for the Home You Cherish
Family always comes first. That’s what we’re all about.
As a family owned company, we understand the importance of caring for those you love in every walk of life.
If you or a loved one are ready to take the steps to age in place safely, our team would love to help. Whether that be with a new roof install, a front porch upgrade, or any other installation, we’re here to help.
Give us a call at 570-345-0436 to start the conversation and schedule your new project.