When it comes to aging, everyone’s preferences and circumstances differ. While some may choose to remain in their current homes and “age in place,” others may need to explore alternative housing options. Making informed decisions about aging successfully requires carefully evaluating various factors that can influence one’s quality of life.
Remember that it is important for individuals, couples, and families to carefully assess their unique situations and make informed decisions based on specific needs and circumstances. “Aging in place” requires a thorough evaluation of your health, ensuring that your home is accessible and safe, having a strong social support network, and considering the financial implications of staying in your current home as you age.
Here are the six key considerations to remember as you navigate the decision between aging in place and moving to a new home.
1. Home Accessibility:
Ensuring easy mobility within your home is essential. Many houses are not designed with the needs of seniors in mind, making safety and accessibility paramount as you age. Consider making home modifications like removing tripping hazards, installing grab bars, widening doorways, and adding ramps. If relocation is possible, look for a home that accommodates your current and potential future mobility and accessibility requirements.
2. Social Support:
Maintaining an active social life is crucial for overall well-being. Creating and expanding your network of family, friends, neighbors, and community resources can combat social isolation. Engage with social clubs, senior centers, and religious communities. If you plan to move, research the availability of social support networks in the new location.
3. Healthcare Access:
Access to healthcare becomes increasingly important as you age. Consider the proximity and availability of healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, and pharmacies. If you are relocating, ensure your insurance plan covers healthcare services in the new area or be prepared to find new insurance and doctors.
Giving up driving doesn’t mean giving up your independence. Whether you age in place or move, consider the availability of public transportation, rides from family and friends, neighborhood walkability, proximity to essential services like grocery stores, and alternative transportation options such as ride-sharing or senior transportation services.
5. Financial Considerations:
Evaluating your financial situation is crucial when making housing decisions. Assess the cost of home modifications, property taxes, maintenance expenses, and potential changes in your financial circumstances, including increased healthcare and long-term care costs. If moving, research the cost of living in the new area, including housing, taxes, and home care expenses.
6. Personal Health and Care Needs:
Account for your current and potential future care needs. Aging in place may require additional support for daily activities like bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. Research available resources such as Meals on Wheels, home maintenance services, healthcare providers, home healthcare services, family caregivers, long-term care services, and senior living communities.
To age successfully, consider factors such as home accessibility, social support, healthcare access, transportation, financial considerations, and personal health and care needs. Emphasize emotional well-being by addressing estate planning, advance care directives, and long-term care insurance. Communicate your plans to family members, beneficiaries, healthcare professionals, elder law attorneys, and financial advisers to ensure your wishes are upheld if you become incapacitated. By carefully assessing these factors, you can make informed decisions about aging in place or explore alternative housing options that best suit your needs and circumstances.