1. Create an easy-access bathroom suite
As we get older, our mobility can deteriorate. You may find it harder to climb into the bath, for example. The good news is that there are plenty of solutions on the market to make it easier, such as walk-in baths that have a door or access panel and bath lifts that have a seat to help you get in and out of the water.
You may think it best to remove the bath altogether to free up some space and create a more modern wet room instead. Yours could be complete with adaptations such as a shower seat and more adjustable shower pole, so you can vary the height of the shower head for when seated.
There’s a wide range of styles and products to choose from for all budgets and tastes so you don’t have to choose comfort or practicality at the cost of style.
2. Fit a key safe
You could find yourself needing to be visited by carers, as well as the family, in later life and having a simple and secure way of them being able to come and go without requiring you to keep getting up can make life easier.
It can also bring you and your family peace of mind, knowing that should anything happen and you need urgent assistance, those coming to help can let themselves in.
Key safes are small boxes that can contain your house key that are usually fitted discreetly to the outside of your property.
To access the key, the person trying to gain entry to your home needs a code set by you.
There is a wide range of retailers selling key safes and good quality models tend to start at around £40.
3. Make it easier to get upstairs
To make sure none of your home becomes out of bounds, you could consider fitting a stairlift or even a lift.
Stairlifts can be installed on a range of stairways – from straight to curved – and the quality of the seat, experience and design has improved considerably over the years. Safety features have improved too and some even come with seatbelt sensors.
The cost of a stairlift varies and is based on factors including the staircase type, the features required and the custom specification you choose.
Up and away: lifts aren’t just for the rich and famous
It’s a good idea to get several quotes from suppliers – who will send an assessor out to your property to take you through your options – to compare prices.
An elevator-style homelift may sound rather grand but they’re no longer the preserve of the rich and famous who haven’t got the inclination to take the stairs to a far flung corner of their mansion.
There are plenty of styles to choose from and they can help you get from your living room to an upstairs study, or from a hallway to a landing.
There’s a wide range of modern solutions that don’t require any major structural work.
4. Get smart
Never forget to turn the lights, heating, TV or music off again by fitting a series of ‘smart’ gadgets. As long as you’ve got broadband and a smartphone, there’s a whole host of smart plugs and apps you can use to control household appliances.
Smart plugs are particularly easy to set up and use. You simply insert them into an existing wall socket or extension lead and then you plug the appliance into them.
Fancy smart plugs allow you to control your appliances from anywhere in your home – or away from it
The smart bit comes into play by connecting the appliance to your smartphone through your broadband wifi connection. You’ll usually need to download the manufacturer’s app, which will allow you to control the smart plug wherever you are – in or away from home.
Some come with accessories such as sensors and timers. Sensors allow the smart plug to switch the power on or off automatically when it detects people in the room or when it falls empty. And the timer functions enable you to set a control program – this can make for a useful burglary deterrent by setting a changeable timer sequence for lights when you are away.
5. Check up on your visitors
There’s a huge range of simple to use and inexpensive security systems on the market
If you would like some forward notice of someone coming to call at your home, you could make your entrance more secure.
There are all manner of simple to use and inexpensive security devices on the market – from CCTV you can access through your smartphone, to intercoms and electric gates.
For example, rather than fork out on an expensive pay-monthly monitored alarm, as long as you’ve got a broadband internet connection, you could take advantage of a wireless security system.
For a one-off cost, you could buy a system that comes with a camera and sensors you install around your property – inside or out – and which connect to your wireless router. The camera function enables you to check what’s going on in the room you place it in from wherever you are – whether that’s upstairs or on holiday.
An intercom with a built-in camera can bring peace of mind too – as you can visually and audibly identify visitors before you open your front door.
Electric gates can be a very useful addition to a property, particularly if your driveway is quite a distance from your front door and isn’t easy to see. Sophisticated systems include remote access so that when you or your family are coming or going, you can activate sensors to open or close the gates from the comfort of your car – usually by activating the mechanism via a key fob.
Prices for all these security systems vary enormously but there’s a huge variety of products and providers to chose from so you’re sure to save by shopping around.