Aging comes with several important considerations, including where you plan to live as your needs grow. Ideally, you will be able to age alone in your own home, but for many seniors, this ideal just isn’t possible. According to the American Psychological Association, just 26% of seniors aged 65 or older live alone, yet as of 2017, 43% of baby boomers anticipated staying in their current residences throughout their retirements. Another 61% said they wanted to stay in their own homes.
Fortunately, there are ways to reconcile these numbers, including buying a senior accessible home or making modifications to your own house. Use this advice from Revercare to help you determine the right decision for your future.
Buy a Senior-Accessible Home
Retirement Living points out that most remodeling projects cost less than $10,000. However, remodeling for accessibility can easily soar to $50,000 or more depending on what you need done. The next best thing is buying an already accessible home.
A hunt for an age-friendly house looks slightly different than your hunt for your first home. Instead of four bedrooms and a large, kid-friendly yard, you likely want something much smaller and more manageable. Aging In Place adds that you’re also going to want certain features:
- No steps
- Wide doors
- Roll-in showers/tub bench
- Grab bars in the bathroom
- Low countertops
- Wall-mounted oven
- Larger digital displays
- Smart home features
Modify Your Family Home
If moving is out of the question, whether for emotional or financial reasons, then it makes sense to invest in aging-in-place modifications. The kitchen and bathroom are often the spaces most crucial to renovate to ensure they stay accessible. Minor upgrades, such as adding a wheelchair ramp or installing a walk-in tub, are low-cost or can be done by yourself. However, more extensive modifications, such as overhauling your kitchen or installing a chair lift, are more costly and complicated. However, these changes may be necessary so that you can continue to live in your home independently and safely.
To afford the cost of aging-in-place modifications in the kitchen and bathroom, including addressing fridge or oven repairs, go online and search “appliance repair” to hire a reputable contractor who is willing to work with your budget. Look at sites like Angi.com, and consider customer testimonials and ratings. Ask the contractor about any deals or discounts he or she can offer on labor and materials.
To pay for the modifications, you may have to research your options. While you can dip into your savings, explore programs through organizations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, ElderCare.gov, the USDA and your state’s housing finance agency, each of which offers loans, discounts and guides designed to cut costs for senior homeowners. When it comes time to sell your home, you can gain a return on your investment by working with a creative real estate agent.
Move Into an Assisted Living Facility
If neither of the above options is right for you, consider moving into an independent or assisted living facility (ALF). These centers come with many perks, including round-the-clock help and care. However, they’re costly. Independent living can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 a month, while assisted living costs range from $3,500 to $10,500 per month.
If you’re like many aging Americans, the thought of aging in place is far more preferable to the thought of moving into an ALF. If that’s the case, carefully weigh the pros and cons of the first two options, and plan as far in advance for your retirement as possible.