More than ever before, older Australians are opting to remain in their family home, rather than downsizing, or moving into accommodation tailored towards older people. This has led to a rise in Australian homeowners future-proofing their homes so that they can expect to stay put and enjoy the property for many more years.
However, many Australian homes are simply not designed to suit older occupants and do not consider the challenges faced by people as they get older. Future proofing the home means a well-loved home can remain safe, accessible, live-able and suited to its occupants.
What Does Future Proofing Mean?
Simply put, future proofing means anticipating the potential problems that could arise and make the home unsuited to your abilities or lifestyle in the years ahead and resolving them before they actually cause problems. Otherwise as you age, things that you once simply took in your stride can become more difficult and possible even hazardous. Normally when renovating we are only ever improving things for the here and now, but to future proof successfully, renovation or re-modelling work would anticipate the medium to longer term and plan accordingly.
Successfully future proofing enables you to live in your home safely and comfortably for as long as you want to. So, for example ensuring ease of access to all the floors in your building, especially for those who live in double or multi-storey homes, is a common area to seek to resolve ahead of time. The stairs can be an area of difficulty for many older residents and one of the most cited aspects of the home that an elderly person ‘cannot manage’ in the event they do seek to relocate or downsize.
Why Future Proof?
A study carried out by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare over 2016-2017 revealed that just over 100,000 people aged 65+ were hospitalised due to a fall. A large percentage of these falls happen at home and stairs were commonly cited as a factor. Future proofing the home helps to protect seniors against such types of preventable accidents and lower the risks faced by them in their homes.
A study carried out by the Productivity Commission in December 2015 found that almost 80 per cent of older Australians expressed a desire to see out their retirement in their current home. It is well known that maintaining independence and mobility are key factors in both the physical and mental health of seniors and more efforts are expected to be invested into enabling care for older people to take place in the homes of residents, rather than in bespoke facilities. So, future proofing is another element that can help to align these preferences.
How To Do It?
Seeking an alternative to the stairs is an ideal candidate for future proofing. This is an area of the home that most older people are likely to find challenging at some point, so it is an easy issue to anticipate, but the trick to successful future proofing is to tackle this without introducing an obviously ‘mobility aid’. Of course, for many years the hope is that the residents could continue to cope with stairs well.
Options such as stairlifts are less favoured as aesthetically, most Australians looking to future proof would not want such a feature installed in their home before there is an immediate need. A home lift, however, perfectly fits the bill, it does not have to be a central feature on the hallway stairs, or make them difficult to use. What is more, the homeowners can enjoy the benefit of transporting laundry, luggage, golf clubs or even the family pet and the grandchildren easily between floors for years before there may be a mobility driven need.
The latest home lifts available on the market can fit in beautifully with the home’s décor. They are stylish, sleek and look great. Also known as a home elevator or residential lift, these lifts take up very little space in the home (even being installed in a disused cupboard space where preferred) and having one leaves your staircase free for yourself and others to use it as normal.
Damian Boyle, Director at Compact Home Lifts, said: “Our customers have found that the Compact Home Lift is the obvious choice when it comes to finding a practical way to stay in the homes they love. We are very proud of our Compact home elevators, as they answer a need in an elegant and practical way. Once customers have tried a Compact Home Lift they never look back.