Our suggested list of Home Updates for your Golden Years that are Sustainable and Accessible
You’ve finally reached your golden years, and you know you’ve got plenty of time ahead of you to travel, see the world, spend time with loved ones, or just finally sit back and enjoy the relaxation you’ve earned from years of hard work.
But, maybe you shouldn’t sit down just yet.
Your senior years offer a perfect opportunity to update and upgrade your home. You don’t have kids in the house anymore, you might be downsizing, and you’re starting to think about your long-term well-being, as well as a life of sustainability.
Thankfully, updating your home now can not only be accessible but also sustainable. You can make your life easier and safer while doing something good for the planet – and future generations.
You don’t need to fall into the stereotype that older people struggle with sustainable living. Instead of worrying about “change,” think of all of the benefits that come with a sustainable lifestyle, and how you can combine greener changes with more comfortable living. Let’s look at some easy updates you can make to improve both sustainability and accessibility in your home throughout your golden years.
Eco-Friendly Home Updates
If you’re like many seniors, you might be spending your golden years on a budget. While you shouldn’t have to feel restricted in the things you do or upgrades you make, it’s normal to want to save a little money here and there. Thankfully, many sustainable home updates can also help to cut back on utility bills. Some of the most popular eco-friendly home upgrades include:
- Solar panels
- Energy-efficient lighting
- Recycled building materials for additions or repairs
- Energy-efficient appliances
If you’re thinking about downsizing, now might also be a good time to consider tiny home living. Not only are tiny houses typically very inexpensive, but the cost of living is low, and you’ll produce less waste.
However, if you want to stay in your current home, consider some of the above options. Things like solar panels might seem like a big investment, but research shows that you could save anywhere from $25,500-$33,000 on electricity during the lifespan of your system.
You also don’t have to install everything all at once. Consider tackling one eco-friendly project a year, depending on how big the investment is, and you’ll create a more sustainable living environment, bit by bit.
Additionally, try to make some sustainable changes to your habits. Making changes around your house can inspire you to adopt healthier, greener routines each day. Try things like composting, setting up a recycling area in your home, or buying more food from local farmers. Everything from taking shorter showers to turning off a light when you leave the room can make a bigger difference than you might think.
Aiming for Accessibility
While living sustainably is important for the future, it’s also essential to make sure your home is comfortable and accessible now. Making accessibility changes will make life easier if you’re a senior, and if you make those changes now, you won’t have to worry about getting them done in the future when you might need them even more.
Making your home more accessible is easier than you might think, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Things like ramps are wonderful, especially if you or someone you live with uses a walker, wheelchair, or mobility scooter. Not only do they make it easier to get in and out of a house, but they reduce the risk of slipping and falling or tripping – especially in winter when things like wooden steps and cement can become icy and slippery.
Stair chairs, shower and bathtub modifications, and even brighter lighting can all make a difference in your comfort levels. Consider things like mobility, risks of tripping and falling, and even conditions like arthritis that might make it difficult to perform everyday tasks. If you’re not worried about your own aging ailments, consider your partner or spouse, or even an elderly parent that might live with you to receive extra care. The last thing you want is for anyone to get injured when it could be avoided with a simple change.
Your accessibility upgrades could include small things like touch faucets in the kitchen to bigger changes like working with a medical alert service or hiring in-home care. Consider what you need now and what you’re most concerned about for the future as you continue to make changes that promote your safety and well-being.
How Safety and Sustainability Intersect
There are plenty of sustainable updates you can make throughout your home that will improve your comfort levels. Things like new windows will keep you warmer during the cold winter months, and installing smart home technology – including a security system, can offer you peace of mind.
Many updates designed to improve your comfort and safety are also incredibly sustainable and good for the environment – starting with those same new windows. Not only will they block out cold weather and save you money on your utility bills, but they’ll keep in the warmth, so you won’t have to use as much energy each day. Other sustainable updates that can make your life safer and more comfortable include:
- Smart thermostats
- Energy-efficient appliances
- Recycled materials
You can go one step further by updating your home’s exterior to be more sustainable, too. For example, gardens are wonderful for the environment. They allow you to grow your own food, serve as pollination stations for bees, and can even boost oxygen production in your yard. From a health standpoint, gardening has been known to reduce stress, improve happiness and satisfaction, and reduce the effects of dementia. If you’re concerned about accessibility, consider using raised garden beds or putting together a vertical garden so you don’t have to bend down or get on your hands and knees to get to work.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to update your home in your golden years that are both accessible and sustainable. Now is a great time to consider your wants and needs, and how to make yourself comfortable and safe as you enjoy aging gracefully.
About the Author
Amanda Winstead is a writer focusing on many topics including technology and digital marketing. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.