Deciding to Age in Place – Or Not

Retirees are individuals, not a homogenized demographic. But there is one issue that galvanizes them. The great majority of retirees, no matter what their age, want to live out their lives in their homes.

When a retiree’s physical limitations change, it is likely time to consider a new living arrangement. But before you make any decisions, ask yourself these three key questions:

  • Does your current residence support aging in place? For example, does it have retiree-friendly features such as a step-less entry, a bedroom and bathroom on the main floor, etc.?
  • If not, can your current home be modified to add these features?
  • Do you have a support network (neighbors, family, friends) close enough to you to help out when you need it?

If you have handy family members, they can execute some of the small fixes, such as grab bars, to make your home safer. If you need wider entrances to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, walk-in baths and showers, or other senior-friendly accommodations, you’ll be interested to know that a senior-focused services business has sprung up to “elder-proof” homes. These services are available coast to coast.

While most retirees’ would prefer to age in place, it is important to consider the option of relocating to assisted living facilities or retirement communities. These group living situations can provide retirees with companionship and convenience. Depending on your financial situation and long-term care insurance coverage, a portion of the cost of assisted living or the services of a home healthcare provider can be covered.

Most importantly, remember to think through these issues early in retirement—before you need to make a change. It is much easier to think unemotionally before the need to relocate becomes urgent.