Considering whether to age in place or make a move is often a life changing decision.
At some point in life, many people review whether they should optimize their current home to age in place, or make a move to a home that works better for them.
Most people prefer living in their own home throughout their lifetime, whether it is one they have lived in a long time, or one they choose in their retirement years. The desire for familiarity and independence, as well as a location near existing friends and family, often drives the desire of where to live.
At some point in their lifetime, many people will have a mobility or health challenge, so planning ahead will maximize the ability to age in place or handle a temporary health challenge. Although no home is perfectly equipped for all situations, a home can be optimized to benefit its occupants.
The first consideration is to decide if the current home can be modified to work. Typically that includes evaluating whether the home and yard are the proper size, and in a desirable location. If not, it is best to make the move and consider a newer home or even a newly built home if the existing home won’t work well. Although moving is a hard, it often provides significant relief and results in less worry on a day to day basis.
Checklist When Remodeling or Building a Home
Low-maintenance finishes like vinyl, brick, and cement siding with composite no-rot trim
Low-maintenance landscaping, like bushes that don’t need regular pruning, and a smaller yard
Living, dining, kitchen, bedrooms, baths, garage and laundry on a single level
No staircases, and ideally a ramp or low threshold entries
Adequate space for wheelchair or walker navigation
Wider hallways and 36-inches wide doors
Wider garage or carport to accommodate van lifts
Comfort height counters
Comfort height toilets
Grab rails in toilet and tub / shower areas
Step in shower with a bench, or walk in tub
Shower spray head on an adjustable bar
Cabinets and Counters
Roll out trays and lazy susans
Deep oversized drawers on base cabinets instead of cabinets with doors
Glass front or open shelf upper cabinets for frequently used items
Easy to grasp pulls and knobs on cabinets
Open space under counters in kitchen and baths for a chair or wheelchair
Under cabinet lighting in kitchen work areas
Easy to read controls, without fancy features
Dishwasher raised for easier loading
Cooktop with front controls to avoid reaching across hot elements
Wall oven at a height easy to use
Microwave drawer or microwave on a counter
French door or side by side refrigerator
Front Loading Washer and dryer raised 12-15 inches above floor
Hardware and finishes
Levered door hardware as they are easier to use than knobs
Single lever faucets, and possibly motion activated faucets
Handrails on both sides of stairways, plus additional lighting
Electrical, Lighting and HVAC
Rocker or touch style light switches
Light switches and thermostats no higher than 48 inches from floor
Motion activated and/or dusk to dawn exterior lighting
Easy-to-see and read thermostats
Easy to access and change HVAC filters
Security – video doorbells and cameras – optionally sharing views with a relative
Hard surface flooring like luxury vinyl plank, hardwood floors, or tile
Eliminate throw rugs as they are a trip hazard
Smooth, non-glare, slip-resistant surfaces, interior and exterior
If carpeted, use low ½ inch pile or less, with a firm pad
Change color or texture when surface levels change to avoid tripping
Getting Help To Age in Place
In addition to home features that help people age in place, sometimes simply hiring help for cleaning, cooking, laundry, yard work, HVAC maintenance, and general home maintenance can make life easier.
Some owners are opting for a multi-generational lifestyle, which includes two or more generations of people who put their resources together and combine households. Currently, 20% of households are multi-generational. To learn more about the popularity of a multi-generational lifestyle, visit this article at https://www.pathpost.com/boom-in-multi-generational-living/. To see homes that might work for joining households, visit https://www.pathpost.com/multigenerational-living/.
Independent vs Assisted Living
If more help is needed, then an independent living apartment or an assisted living home might be worth considering. Independent living is just that. Residents still maintain their former lifestyle, just minus some of the burdens of home ownership. Assisted living typically includes help with medications, planned activities, and no burdens of home ownership. Some assisted living homes have a memory care component to help those residents stay safe.
Watch out for Criminals
Unfortunately, some criminals target homeowners who they think are older and more susceptible to identity theft or unnecessary purchases or bogus charitable contributions. Criminals either go door to door offering bogus services, or call on the phone, or send solicitations in the mail, often looking like official government documents or bills that need to be paid.
Door to Door Solicitors
Having a video doorbell or security cameras with motion sensors can be helpful. Some seniors will give a relative or neighbor access to motion alerts to help screen and turn away solicitors. Putting up No Trespassing or No Soliciting signs can be helpful, too.
Robo, Telemarketing, and Spam Calls
To stop many robo pre-recorded type calls, visit https://www.nomorobo.com. This site helps to block unwanted robo telemarketing calls for free on your VoIP landline. If your phone service is from an internet provider, like Comcast, this will work for you. It doesn’t work on traditional landline phones. Some landline providers have other services to block unwanted calls or limit calls to a pre-determined list of friends, family and businesses like doctors and pharmacies, so check with your provider for the best options. There are some smartphone apps that will stop robo, telemarketing, and spam calls to your iPhone or Android device. Legitimate robo messages like from a doctor, pharmacy or school, will not be blocked by these services.
Mail Solicitations or Scams
Solicitations will sometimes come in the mail, and look like official government documents or bills that need to be paid. If a senior is prone to being tricked, it can help to collect all bills and review them weekly with a trusted friend or family member, to be sure money isn’t spent on bogus invoices or charities.
Why Path & Post Real Estate?
Path & Post Real Estate team members believe understanding someone’s life transition associated with considering a move is important. We take seriously our role as your guide in this important stage in your life, and are happy to consult with you on your options. Our goal is simple….to help you achieve your goals, whether it involves making a move or staying put in your current home!