Planning ahead to stay in your current home
A lot of us want to stay in our own home as long as possible. There are also benefits that may come with maintaining your independence longer. The accessibility and maintainability of your home are key factors in your ability to stay as long as you want. We also can’t forget our social networks, hobbies and interests as these all help you stay independent and healthy.
Making changes to your home
When planning how you can stay in your home consider if your home is: safe, easy to enter and move around; responsive to your changing needs? If not, what changes might you need and what needs to be considered for those changes happen?
Not all of the changes around your home require a big budget. What small changes can you make? Could changing the way a door swings make a room more accessible, especially in an emergency? How would the addition of railings or handles assist you down the track? What other devices or changes can you make so that you can live in your home longer? Consider furniture choices also, height adjustable tables, benches and chairs can all make a difference.
Depending on your home and your financial situation you may be looking at renovations or extensions. When planning these changes, consider the width of your hallways and doors – are they wide enough for a mobility aid? Are there other options to having stairs in your home? The Australian Network for Universal Housing Design has produced a Livable Housing Design Guidelines which contains 15 Livable Housing Design Elements that you could talk to your builder or architect about. For a copy call the Housing Information Line.
Renters in Queensland are covered by Residential Tenancy legislation. This legislation has a section about fixtures which relates to making changes to the property you are renting. You need to have the agreement of your lessor to make changes to the dwelling otherwise your lessor can take action against you. It is advisable that you get an agreement in writing detailing what fixtures are to be added or changed, who will be responsible for the cost, will they need to be removed when you leave, will the property need to be restored to its original condition, will you be required to leave the fixtures in place and whether you will be reimbursed for the cost of the fixtures. The Housing Information line can put you in touch with statewide tenancy advice services who can assist you with understanding your responsibilities regarding modifications to a rental property and negotiating agreements with your lessor.
Home Maintenance, Gardens and Landscaping
You might be able to keep up with the maintenance of your property now but how will you manage it into the future. Are there changes you can start making over the next few years that will help it be more manageable down the track? For you, it might mean redesigning your gardens so that some sections are easily maintained and you can put your time and effort into a smaller section. Also consider the landscaping of your property as a whole e.g. the condition and accessibility of your footpaths, driveways, stairs or your front gate. As you are maintaining your property now, think about the things you can do now to make maintenance easier in the future e.g. is there a building material that has extended life span or doesn’t require painting at a later stage?
Your hobbies, interests and social networks
Have you considered friends and family that you want to visit you and how they will be able to access your home? What changes can you make that would mean others can visit you for longer? Also think about your hobbies and interests. What is around you that you might like to get involved in? Are there groups you can join or organisation’s you would like to volunteer with? Is there public transport available so that you can continue to attend the activities you enjoy later in life?
For further information
More information on this and other items to consider can be found by moving through the other topic specific links. Alternatively, you can have a “Housing Chat” with the Housing Information Line on 1300 135 500. We can provide you will some current resources and information on current services in your chosen location as well as some tips or tricks to look out for.
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