People who choose to live independently in their own homes as they age, rather than entering a care community, such as assisted living, are now the norm. A University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted in 2022 asked seniors nationwide about their preferences on this issue. The study found that 88% of 50-80-year-olds think it’s important to remain in their homes for as long as they safely can.
How to Best Assess Where You Should Age in Place?
Aging in place can mean different things to different people. For some, it means continuing to live in their existing home, often the home where they raised their kids. For others, it means relocating to a new home that’s more suitable for their needs. Sometimes this means downsizing and relocating.
The following section provides an overview of what you should think about when starting to imagine future housing needs as you age.
Things to Consider About Where You Live
As you get older you might expect that at some point you’ll no longer be able to drive, making traveling more complicated and time-consuming. Therefore, you should consider what your ideal environment will look like as you age. If you’re fortunate, your current location will satisfy your needs, but if it doesn’t, you may wish to consider a change. Think about:
- Health care access
- Neighborhood safety
- Your desires for social interaction
- Shopping conveniences
- Ease of seeing Family
Additionally, you may want to take more factors into account when weighing whether to age in place:
- Grandchildren: Many grandparents value the time they spend with their grandchildren. Does your current location makes it easier or more difficult to enjoy time with them? Are visiting opportunities plentiful?
- Hobbies: In retirement, hobbies can blossom into wonderfully satisfying activities. Is your current location a problem or a benefit? For example, if you love fishing you may want to be close to a river or lake. If you enjoy music, you may want to be near venues for live performances.
- Travel: Do you expect to travel frequently? If so, think about the distance and journey times to the places you’ll visit most often.
- Home Modifications: Will your home need many upgrades as the years pass? Perhaps there’s a staircase that may need a stairlift? Are there grab handles in the bathroom shower? If the costs of modifying your home are very expensive it may be time to consider relocating.
- Maintenance: Is there someone nearby who can help with regular maintenance as you age, or someone who will help if you sustain an injury?
What to Look for in a Home for Aging in Place
When you’re assessing whether you can age in place there are certain things you should be on the lookout for to help ensure it’s safe. Refer to the printable detailed checklist from Caring.com as you consider your options. Importantly, please consider working with professionals who specialize in helping seniors make housing decisions. For example:
Senior Home Safety Inspectors
A Senior Home Safety Inspector provides a comprehensive assessment of their client’s existing residence or potential new home. The inspection’s purpose is to discover possible hazards and suggest improvements to make the home more senior-friendly. A typical inspector will look for:
- Tripping hazards, like slippery flooring, or loose outdoor paving
- Electrical concerns, like faulty wiring and missing smoke alarms
- Plumbing issues, including baths that have falling potential
- Door width and ramps if the senior uses a wheelchair
- Stairs and railings that may be hazardous
- Doorknobs and faucets that can cause a struggle
Senior Real Estate Specialists
A Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) is a Realtor recognized by the National Association of Realtors as someone who specializes in helping seniors deal with aspects of buying and selling that are specific to their age group. An SRES-certified Realtor will also have knowledge of estate planning and relationships with local financial planners who specialize in retirement planning. Don’t hesitate to contact us for our list of our SRES-certified agents.
Senior Move Managers
A Senior Move Manager specializes in helping seniors relocate, which includes the emotional and practical challenges of moving. Their help may include:
- Designing an age-in-place plan
- Assisting with downsizing
- Arranging storage or shipment of possessions, if necessary
- Organizing professional packing and unpacking services
- Finding a Realtor and preparing the home for sale
To find a Senior Home Manager in your area, search here.
At Winkler Real Estate Group we understand how important it is to plan for the future. Our goal is to make sure your real estate investment is a smart one. Our Senior Real Estate Specialists are here to advise and guide you. Don’t hesitate to call our offices today.
The above data has been excerpted from Caring.com, a privately funded online platform that creates free resources for seniors, their loved ones, and caregivers.
Frequently Ask Questions
What does ‘aging in place’ mean and how many seniors prefer this option?
Aging in place refers to the decision to live independently in one’s own home as they age, rather than moving into a care community. According to a 2022 University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging, 88% of 50-80-year-olds expressed a preference to remain in their homes for as long as they safely can.
What are the top considerations when deciding to age in place?
Some of the top considerations include health care access, neighborhood safety, social interaction opportunities, shopping convenience, and proximity to family. It’s also essential to consider the home’s suitability for your hobbies, travel plans, and any necessary home modifications.
How can the location of my home affect my ability to spend time with my grandchildren or enjoy my hobbies in retirement?
Your home’s location can significantly influence your accessibility to family and leisure activities. For instance, if your home is far from your grandchildren or favorite recreational spots, it might limit your ability to enjoy these aspects of your life.
How does travel frequency affect my decision to age in place?
If you plan on traveling frequently, consider the ease of traveling from your current location to your favorite or frequent destinations. This might include the proximity to airports, major highways, or other transportation services.
What are some home modifications I might need to consider as I age?
Aging might necessitate home adjustments for safety and convenience. These could include stairlifts for staircases, grab handles in the bathroom, and widened doors for wheelchair access. You might also need to consider modifications to decrease tripping hazards, correct electrical issues, or improve plumbing safety.
How important is maintenance assistance in an aging-in-place decision?
Maintenance can become challenging as you age. It’s crucial to ensure there is someone nearby who can help with regular upkeep or unexpected repairs. This might be a family member, a neighbor, or a hired professional.
What should I look for in a home if I’m planning to age in place?
When assessing a home for aging in place, look for safety features like non-slip flooring, adequate lighting, safe plumbing fixtures, and easily navigable layouts. Also, consider the ease of home maintenance and accessibility to services, family, and amenities.
What is the role of a Senior Home Safety Inspector in the aging-in-place process?
A Senior Home Safety Inspector provides a comprehensive assessment of your current or potential new home to identify potential hazards and suggest improvements for a more senior-friendly home.
What is a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) and how can they assist seniors in real estate decisions?
An SRES is a Realtor certified by the National Association of Realtors to assist seniors with the unique challenges they face when buying or selling property. They have knowledge of estate planning, retirement planning, and local resources that can be particularly beneficial to older adults.
How can a Senior Move Manager help in the process of aging in place?
A Senior Move Manager helps seniors navigate the emotional and practical challenges of relocating. They can assist with designing an age-in-place plan, downsizing, arranging storage or shipping of possessions, packing and unpacking services, and preparing the home for sale.