Senior-Friendly Home Updates Could Save Money

Tim Watt  |  January 14, 2013

Some caregivers are hesitant to suggest their senior loved one moves in with them, not only because of the caregiving responsibilities they will need to take on, but also because of the adjustments they might need to make around the home. However, unless you are planning to build an addition onto your house or make another drastic change, making some senior-friendly changes might actually save you money, according to the Palatka Daily News.

Make it automatic
Improved lighting is one change that is recommended to make a home safer for seniors. You might think this means a higher electricity bill, but it doesn't have to. Instead of simply leaving more lights on, invest in automatic lighting. Controlled by a motion sensor, lights can turn on and off when people enter or leave rooms. This will eliminate the issue of reaching for light switches in the dark and will ensure every room is well-lit for each person who enters, while also saving you money, the news outlet reports.

Efficient updates
The Family Caregiver Alliance recommends families discuss the role the senior will play in the family dynamic before the move. While some seniors will need full-time care, others will be playing a vital role in the family's daily lifestyle. If your loved one is expected to help out with tasks around the house like cooking or laundry, switching out your old appliances for new ones might make his or her job easier and safer. Getting a new refrigerator or dishwasher that has drawers between hip and shoulder height means seniors don't have to reach up or bend down to access them. While this might be a costly investment at first, newer models are more energy efficient, meaning your carbon footprint and energy bills will go down.

Keeping the heat in
Many seniors also like to keep their homes warm. If you live in a cold climate, this seems like it might translate to a higher energy bill, but some efficient updates may end up saving you money over time. Consider installing new, insulated windows to keep the heat in and the cold air out, or planting some tall bushes outside to create a buffer against the wind. You could also install insulated or airtight curtains, which trap heat and block the cold, so less of your money is going out the window, literally and figuratively.