Slow changes to help you stay in your home

29 May 2018
We've come to the end of a two year period of renovations and home improvements. We did the work as we had the money, time and energy for it. Our goal was to modernise and safety-proof our home for our older age, and for our children to be able to easily sell the house when we die. While not wanting to sound morbid, that time is coming for us in the next 10 - 20 years and we don't want to spend that time on home improvements. We want to live life to the full, enjoy each other's company and provide hospitality when family and friends visit us. As it stands now, we both feel we've done enough to allow us to relax and live well although we'll continue to upgrade any safety concerns that present themselves in the coming years.

Our latest project was to remove old white ceramic tiles from the kitchen splash-back and replace them with some beautiful Scandinavian tiles. Our kitchen is 21 years old now. We designed the kitchen and had it built when we moved into our pre-loved home 21 years ago. Our kitchen was made in Australia and installed by local tradesmen. It shows - it's served us well and still looks good today. Apart from replacing the counter tops and the under sink cupboard when our old dishwasher flooded the kitchen, we haven't replaced any drawer runners, hinges or hardware and they're all still working perfectly. That room is a pleasure to work in and I think it's probably the room I spend the most time in.

In general, most of us don't think about the house maintenance we can do as we age but it makes a huge difference to the long-term suitability and comfort of your home. If you intend living in your own home until the end, you'll need to think about what changes and improvements you can do as you age to help you do that. What is suitable in your 40s and 50s changes in your 60s and when you move into your 70s, you'll need a safe and secure home that is easy to move around in with few steps and no slippery floors. You'll need a good kitchen and bathroom that will help you stay fed and clean long into your senior years. Try to do the work in bits and pieces before you lose the energy and strength to do it. This is one of the things you can plan for when you're moving from one decade to the next.  Work out what needs fixing or changing, and what would make life easier for you, then plan your budget and timeline.

Our renovations were done on a strict budget. We bought the materials after looking around for the best prices and while we didn't always go for the lowest price, we focused instead on value for money. When we needed help, we got someone from Airtasker.  Our work took two years but we planned it that way so we could do the work when it suited us and when we had the spare cash to buy our materials. You may be many years away from these changes but I'm sure there are many readers here who could start planning tomorrow. I encourage you, no matter what age you're at, to start thinking about what you can do for yourself as you age so you can enjoy your later years in peace, safety and comfort.