As you plan for your retirement, think about how your lifestyle may change in the coming years. Look around your home — are there repairs you have been meaning to make? Are you anticipating remaining in your home through retirement as opposed to downsizing to a smaller space? Even if you don’t have a hard time getting around now, that may change in the coming years. Luckily, there are things you can do now to make your retirement years easier. Check out these ideas for a lower-maintenance house that can help you simplify and ease into your retirement years.

Transition Carpet to Hardwood Flooring

Carpet may make your home feel warmer and give it a cozy feel. However, even high-quality carpet will wear out, become shaggy and require ongoing maintenance. Carpeting also becomes a tripping hazard as you age. Consider upgrading to hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring is virtually maintenance free and won’t wear out from heavy traffic.

Swap Light Bulbs for LEDs

If you still use incandescent light bulbs, it may be time to upgrade to LED bulbs. In addition to reducing energy costs, LED bulbs are an easy swap if a lower-maintenance home is your goal. That’s because they last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and 2.5 times longer than CFL bulbs. LED lighting is a brighter solution all around!

Update the Bathroom

If a bathroom remodel is in your future, consider changing to a handicap-height toilet. Regular toilet seats sit 17 inches or lower, but handicap-height toilet seats are 17-19 inches from the ground. If replacing the toilet isn’t in your budget, consider adding an elevated seat to make standing easier. Add grab bars next to the toilet for easier standing, being sure to not obstruct the flushing mechanism.

Do you have a bathtub in your bathroom? If you have a tub, stepping into it could become more difficult as you age. Consider removing it in favor of a walk-in shower. The walk-in feature with wall grips will allow you to get in and out easily and safely.

Consider changing out the vanity in the bathroom. The vanity counter should be lower to the ground, and easily rolled under for wheelchair accessibility.

Make Your Kitchen Smart

When looking at lower maintenance living, consider adding networked appliances to your kitchen. These appliances range from refrigerators, stove/ovens and dishwashers to washer/dryers. Smart appliances are connected wirelessly to the internet and can warn you when repairs are needed. You can monitor performance via an app and make repairs before trouble starts.

Additionally, consider widening doorways and paths in the kitchen. Remove unnecessary clutter to make it easier to get around. Consider lowering counter heights to help in improve overall accessibility.

Add Programmable Thermostat Controls

Smart thermostats provide a lot of options. Your home will always be the ideal temperature when you can regulate it from a smartphone app. You can also prevent the temps in your home from dipping too low (and causing pipes to freeze) when you are away for extended periods of time by establishing temperature thresholds. Be sure to install thermostats low enough on the wall so you don’t have to strain to view them when you are standing or sitting.

Consider Leak Detection Systems

There is nothing worse than coming home to a wet basement. Adding an automatic water leak detection and shutoff system can prevent flooding issues from broken pipes, water leaks from water heaters and laundry units that malfunction. A leak detection system can reduce your home’s maintenance needs and prevent you from worrying about water issues in the future.

As you look forward to retirement, prepare your home by making it as maintenance free as possible. Look at ways you can improve efficiency now and create less work and issues into the future. Consider reviewing your homeowners insurance with your Farm Bureau agent, who will help you ensure that if something does go wrong, you will have coverage in place to make recovery easy!