The older we get, the more we have to think about where we plan to live in the long run. Many seniors prefer to stay home, while others prefer the no-hassle option of living in a senior community or assisted living facility. What you choose is a personal decision, but one that requires a full assessment of your home and health. Here are some things to think about when it comes to aging in place, whether that means buying an accessible home -- reach out to Lorri DeLaney for expert home buying services -- making upgrades to your current home, or moving into a more structured environment.
Affordability and aging in place
Living at home and making upgrades may be your most affordable option. If your home is paid off and you have the means to enhance your living space with things like a stairless entry and senior-friendly bathroom features, you may be able to enjoy your independence for much longer. You’ll also want to ensure your home has at least one bedroom and one bath on the first floor. Installing smart technology tools such as a home security system, smart speaker, and medical alert system can also be helpful in maintaining your health and safety while aging in place. Be sure that your home is equipped with ultra-fast internet so that you stay connected with loved ones and your smart tech tools can continue to run smoothly.
Keep in mind that home upgrades may be a significant one-time cost, especially if you need extensive renovations. In Denver, for example, the average cost of a full kitchen remodel is almost $23,000. Other potential expenses include widening doorways and adding extra lighting throughout the home. A few early upgrades that won’t break the bank include finding a handyman to change out the door handles or remove carpeting to expose existing hardwood. It may also be necessary to hire a lawn care or cleaning service to come in a few times each month to keep things neat and tidy inside and out.
Health concerns and assisted living
With each passing year, we become more at-risk for health issues like dementia, heart disease and compromised mobility. As Senior Advice explains, many physical considerations have to be taken into account when it comes to senior care. Sometimes, these issues go beyond the scope of what a senior can safely manage at home on their own. This is when an independent living campus, assisted living facility, or, later, a skilled nursing home may be the best option.
A senior-oriented community is usually available for a set monthly price, and some also have initial buy-in fees. They are already designed with safe aging in mind and are often fully staffed around the clock. If you find the right community, it will meet your needs no matter how often they change. You might start out living in your own apartment where you cook and clean for yourself. As this becomes more difficult, you’ll have the option to move into a unit with daily housekeeping, laundry service, and dining options.
Other things to think about
If you cannot afford to remodel, and your ultimate goal is to stay home, then you'll want to consider purchasing a home that incorporates universal design (homes in Denver sell for a median price of $477,250). Andy Smith of Senior Living Innovation Forum explains in greater detail what universal design means in this post. If you're planning to buy a home, work with Lorri DeLaney who can provide you with comprehensive knowledge of the local market and help you find the perfect home to fit your needs. Keep in mind that no matter how many senior-accessible options are available, there is no guarantee that you won’t need assistance later on, so that is something to think about as you plan your long-term finances.
A final option is to move in with an adult child or grandchild. Multi-generational living is not a new concept, and it is considered the norm in many countries. There are many pros and cons that you should discuss with your adult children and think about on your own before making a decision.
You have options on where to live in your golden years. However, there is not a single living arrangement that makes sense for everyone. You’ll need to look at your personal finances, health, and preferences closely before settling in for the long haul.