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How Seniors Can Find the Perfect Home for Aging in Place
More and more seniors are choosing to age in place - growing old in their homes as opposed to an assisted living community. Modern technology and higher standards of in-home care are making this an option for more people. However, some seniors can’t age in place in their current homes for a variety of reasons. Here is a great link to why many shouldn't stay in their homes alone: Should a Senior live alone. Here are some great tips on how to find the perfect new home in which to age in place.
Choose a home in a friendly neighborhood
One thing that an assisted living facility does provide seniors is built-in socialization. Many seniors struggle with isolation and loneliness, and living in a special community can often alleviate this. If you want to age in place in your own home, however, it’s vital that you move to a neighborhood that gives you the most options to be social. Talk to the neighbors around any potential home buy. Are they friendly? Ask them if the neighborhood is tight-knit, and if there are any neighborhood associations that sponsor parties, cookouts, and other get-togethers. Try to find a neighborhood where you will find new friends and activities to keep you occupied.
Choose a home that will require minimal modifications
As a senior, there are plenty of specific house features that you may require for comfortable, independent living. It depends on your level of mobility, but you could want anything from a walk-in, no-ledge shower, to non-slip flooring like textured tiles in bathrooms and kitchens, to low or adjustable level countertops, or even reinforced grips and railings throughout the home. You want a home that you can live in for the rest of your life, so it should not only be accommodating for you now but for you in the future as well. You can save money on modifications if you focus on finding a home that will require as few as possible.
Choose a home that requires little upkeep
The answer to the question Why not just age in place in your current home? is almost always because it’s too large/requires too much upkeep. Seniors moving to a new home are most certainly downsizing, as this helps streamline their entire existence and gets rid of superfluous possessions and space that only serves to tie them down and prevents true independent living. Start downsizing as soon as possible so that you will have a better idea of home much space you’ll need in your new home. Refusing to downsize is a major pitfall for seniors looking to age in place.
Also, it’s probably not wise to choose a new home with a ton of outdoor upkeep either. Many seniors love to garden, and having enough space for a modest garden is likely all you’ll want. Otherwise you will be working too hard to maintain a large yard - and you’ll most likely have to pay someone to do it as you age. Find a home with a modest yard or work to create one yourself.
Buy within your means
The perfect home for you is the one you can afford. If you’re a senior living on a fixed or tight income, make sure your mortgage payment doesn’t overextend you. Always be wary of “hidden costs” of homeownership like insurance costs, taxes, maintenance and repair fees, and neighborhood association costs.
The perfect home for a senior looking to age in place is one they can afford, that accommodates their mobility issues (both present and future), and is in a location where they can be social with friends and neighbors.