As we age, and spouses pass away, those around us may suggest moving out of the house and into a community. However, if you are healthy, have friends and family nearby, and a confident driver, you may not want to move. These are important prerequisites for people who want to “age in place” and stay in their homes as they grow older. According to Stacey Watson, head of life event planning at Fidelity, “For those who wish to age in place, it’s important to think not only about a plan for staying in your home, but also about your support network. Social connections are a critical element to living independently and aging well.” As an aging single, or couple, here are things that you should keep in mind when assessing your living situation.
As you plan for retirement, you should also set up a strategy for how you can leverage any real estate assets you own. Also consider developing a plan to support your need for future housing in your later years. Real Estate is the most commonly used asset to fund retirement and help pay for any expenses long term health care may bring. Whatever the situation is that you decide to sell your house, working with a financial advisor to help determine the role of your real estate assets in your overall financial planning can make it easier on you and your family
Besides wanting to age in the comfort of your own home, there are many other benefits of staying put. With upfront costs of moving, an entrance fee into a community, and room and board, which can easily be $3,000 a month, staying in your home can be less expensive than moving into an assisted living community. Aside from the monetary benefit of staying put, there are also psychological payoffs of not moving. Your friends, medical professionals, and faith community are priceless and an essential component of healthy aging.
Doing a home safety check is essential to identify hazards while planning to age in place. There may be improvements you are unaware of that need to be made to stay safely in your house, which can be relatively easy and inexpensive. Have someone walk around your house with an eye for potential hazards or hire a home modification professional to help make needed changes.
If you can no longer drive, or walk, to important places such as the grocery store, make a plan for other transportation options. You can ride share with neighbors and friends or utilize transportation assistance that comes with many companion-care services. When it comes to getting a prescription filled or buying groceries, often these things can be delivered to your home without you even needing to leave. A close friend or family member can help you to manage your orders and help you get exactly what you need.
While you are aging at home, make sure you are still apart of a supportive community or network. Isolation can happen without you realizing, and it can speed up aging. It is essential to stay connected so that you do not fall into isolation related depression. Using the computer is a great way to connect online with your family and friends. There also may be companionship services available in your community worth investigating.