Designing Your Retirement Dream Home
Some people think of retirement as the end of their lives, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. While it might be the end of a life shaped by commuting, working, and meeting deadlines, it’s a wonderful beginning of the time that you can spend doing things that you really enjoy.
You’ll have the chance to pursue your hobbies, spend more time with family and friends, travel, and focus on you. Because the pace of your life may change drastically when you retire, you might want to think about changing your living arrangements too.
Know your own lifestyle
This is one of the most important things to ask yourself: What does retirement mean to you? There’s not a single answer that is applicable to all retirees, and it’s something people should answer for themselves.
Are you planning on traveling a lot after you retire, or are you more into staying at home and pursuing your hobbies?
Do you want your family to come and stay over during the winter or the summer?
Would renting a condo be enough for you, or are you thinking of building a house that will be everything you’ve ever dreamed of for your retirement?
Think about these important lifestyle choices before making your final decision about where and how you want to live in retirement.
Pick the right location
First of all, you should find THE location that you absolutely fall in love with. The best thing about retirement is that you no longer have to think about how close it is to your office, and how far away it is from the nearest school and/or kindergarten. This is the time when you get to be selfish and focus solely on the things that you love, and that make you happy. If you’ve always wanted to live near the beach, now’s the time. And the same goes for other scenarios: a quiet little town, bustling city, countryside, or even an exotic location.
Find what you love best and let it be the place where you’ll live.
How big do you want to go?
Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different feedback to the question “What is the perfect size of your retirement home?”. Some people want to downsize because they find it tiresome to take care of a large house, while others like the extra space because it allows them to accommodate family and friends when they come to visit.
Fortunately, there are so many wonderful house and land packages to choose from, that you can easily find something that suits you perfectly. You’ll hear many different opinions from people who are close to you, but you shouldn’t let others influence your final decision.
Think about the future
No one really knows what the future holds for us, but one thing’s certain: we are not going to get any younger or healthier as we age. This means that dozens of stairs and two or three-story homes should be left in the past. You don’t want to end up not using a part of your house if you get injured. If you’re planning on living in a multi-story house, make sure that you have everything you need on the first floor, and think about installing an elevator or chairlift in future too. The entrance to your home ideally won’t have any steps, so that anyone who has to use a wheelchair or a walker can have easy access.
Wide spaces are your friends
It’s more than a passing trend – open floor plans are a wonderful solution for people who might have mobility issues in the future. Not only does this kind of accessibility make moving around the house easier for everyone, but it also provides excellent visibility and a unifying feel. From the kitchen and the living room, you may be able to see the garden, and it provides more natural light in your home. Your hallways and doorways should also be wide enough so that a wheelchair user can easily pass through.
Details that make a difference
The smallest touches and seemingly insignificant details can actually make the biggest difference in your golden years. Dimmer switches are the best, and every room should have one. On the other hand, there should also be night lights installed throughout the house, as this will help avoid trips and falls during the night. Taller toilets are better, because they make sitting down and standing up without assistance much easier. Taking a shower or bath may become a difficult task in future, so consider renovations that include designing a walk-in shower complete with a shower seat.
While the end of a long and important chapter in your life might be unsettling in the beginning, give yourself some time to adjust to the new situation, and try to focus on all the positive aspects of retirement. The best thing you can do is start planning and looking into your housing options before you’re actually retired, so that you know what lies ahead, and your dream home for retirement is ready for you when you’re ready for it.
The next chapter of your life has a lot to offer, and just because it’s different from what you’re used to doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it to the fullest.