Your grandparents might have counseled you to buy a house in your 20s or 30s so you would have a home you own in which to live as you age. Perhaps you followed this advice, and as your 70s creep on, you’ve begun to consider the intricacies of aging in place. Most senior citizens, 90% in fact, want to stay in their own homes as they age.
You have many considerations in the process of aging in place. From your finances to your bathrooms, aging in place requires pre-planning. Here are some tips to get you started.
Consider Your Finances First
It may seem as if the least-cost scenario would be living in the home you already paid for, but you may need to update that home or hire help to care for it. As you age, you may not be able to care for the yard, clean the house, or prepare all of your own meals. This may require you to hire a landscaper, yardman, or housekeeper. These expenses can outweigh the cost of selling the home and leasing a spot in an assisted living center.
Take a hard look at your finances with respect to outstanding loans and credit cards. Most Americans have about $38,000 in debt, excluding mortgages. If you need to make payments on loans, it makes sense to stay in your home as long as you can so you free up the money from a rent payment for paying off debt.
Think About Home Updates
When you age in place, your home must meet certain criteria to make it safer for you. Those little aches and pains that older people suffer become common. About 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. It might stem from lifting lots of boxes while you move or it could be a progressing issue. As you age, though, you might need an elevator to reach the upper floors of your home or a ramp to get in and out of the home.
You need to set aside funds to redo your bathroom as well. You’ll need grab bars in the shower and perhaps beside the toilet seat. Other common changes to the home include more accessible cabinetry, non-slip flooring, level-style doorknobs, a home security system, and a medical alert device.
Rather than joke about older drivers, realize that someday you will be one. Plan for transportation now. Will you take mass transit or use Uber or Lyft? What if you don’t live in an area where either of those is offered? Can you make an agreement with a neighbor for rides to medical appointments and for grocery shopping? If these costs outweigh owning your own vehicle, consider how you will pay for them.
How Technology Can Help
Keep up with the times. You can easily learn to use the assistant on your cell phone. The same assistants run on Alexa and Google Home. Once you get the hang of setting these up, you can use them for everything from turning on the TV with a voice command to adjusting the thermostat. This can help you control various aspects of your home from your bed to a chair.
Plan Ahead With Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance
Obtaining long-term care insurance is a great idea as well. Nab an LTC policy as early in life as you can. Locking in low premiums can help keep it affordable. This type of insurance helps you pay for the care that Medicare doesn’t cover so you can stay in your home and get the daily assistance you need.
You can stay at home and age in place, but it requires pre-planning. Start today with these tips and get your family involved in the process for a smooth transition.