When planning for retirement, one of the most important aspects is choosing a suitable place to live. How comfortable you are in your home as you age will have a huge impact on your level of happiness, your health and your finances.
If your existing home is not the ideal place to spend your retirement, you might be considering downsizing. Here are 10 important features to look for in a home, so you can be comfortable during your retirement.
1. Easy Access
While walking up a bunch of steps to get to the front door might not bother you now, as you age it can become a real issue. The same can be said for a sloping block, uneven driveway, or flight of stairs inside. When choosing a home in retirement, look for a flat block with minimal steps at the front and back door. A short, paved driveway or path leading out of your property will also make life easier and minimise the chance of falls.
2. One Level
A two-storey home can be great for families, but navigating stairs on a daily basis can be quite taxing on your body in your senior years. Living in a single-storey home makes it easier to access rooms and reduces the risk of injuries and falls.
3. Right Size
Once the family have flown the coup, a smaller home makes sense. There’s less cleaning to do for a start, and it’s easier to maintain both inside and out. You’ll also save money on power bills as there is less space to heat and cool.
4. Low Maintenance
Keeping up with home maintenance in retirement can be a real burden, as tasks become more difficult and time consuming. Living in a smaller home reduces the load, and makes things seem more manageable. Choosing a home with other features such as low-maintenance cladding, paved driveways and small gardens can further cut your weekly to-do list.
5. Room to Move
A home that is not cluttered or over-furnished is important for safety. Look for a floorplan that allows you to place all your furniture comfortably, while also leaving adequate space for traffic. Bumps into tables, chairs and beds can cause bruises, cuts and worse, so make sure there is plenty of space to navigate each room without feeling cramped.
6. Interior Features
In the bathroom, avoid having your shower over a bath as this can be difficult to manage. A walk-in shower is ideal and is also easier to clean. Where possible, opt for a kitchen with drawers for storage as it makes finding things a breeze. Under-bench storage is also a better option than overhead, as it’s easier to access.
7. Plenty of Light
A light-filled home is a must during retirement. A home with lots of natural light will not only lift your spirits, it will also save you money on electricity. Look for a house with plenty of windows and with adequate lighting installed in every room. This is important for safety too, as it’s harder to see obstacles when it’s dull.
8. A Small Garden of Your Own
Many retirees find gardening a great way to get outside and stay active. A well-tended garden is also the perfect place to relax on a sunny day. Having your own small patch to call your own allows you to enjoy the benefits of gardening, without the added workload that comes with a larger garden.
9. Close to Facilities
The location of your home is important at any stage of life but being close to facilities that you use often is a definite plus in retirement. This includes both essential services such as supermarkets and hospitals, and leisure activities such as the golf course or gym.
10. Safe Neighbourhood
Feeling safe in your home is important, so choose a neighbourhood where you feel at ease. Living in a gated community with on-site managers brings an added sense of security and is a key reason many retirees move to over-55s villages.
Final Word on Features for a Comfortable Retirement
Deciding where you live in retirement can be a difficult decision. Be clear on your priorities and your needs and make sure your home of choice ticks all your boxes. That way, you can sit back and enjoy your retirement to the fullest.
Over to You
Do you have a question about any of these features – or do you have something else to add? We’d love to hear it!
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