When it comes to making sure you age in a comfortable, independent, and safe environment, seniors have many options. It’s important to think about what you want and to consider what you are capable of— from a health and financial standpoint. Most seniors look at three options for comfortable retirement living:
- Buying a senior-accessible home
- Making accessibility modifications to a current home
- Moving into an assisted living facility
How do you know what is the right choice for you or a loved one approaching their golden years? Here is a quick overview of what you can expect from each of these three top options.
Buying a senior-accessible home
If you are considering purchasing a senior-ready home, think about partnering with a friend, family member, or realtor who has experience looking for these kinds of properties. There is a lot to think about, and experience can be insightful. Also, consider taking along a checklist of features that help with aging in place.
Take some time to research the housing market, especially if you plan on selling your home to buy another. That way you can start your home search knowing what kind of down payment you’ll want to have, the best neighborhoods for seniors, and how much you might expect to pay for your mortgage. Having this information goes a long way toward lining up a budget.
Here are some key design elements for seniors to look for in their housing search:
- Single-story homes are ideal for seniors. Protecting against slips and falls is crucial for healthy senior living, which is why many opt for homes without stairs.
- Storage for extra items if moving into a smaller home. If you want to keep sentimental items but won’t have space in your new home, look for affordable storage units in your area.
- Properties near places they frequent, or near public transit stops, to ease transportation worries.
Making accessibility modifications to a current home
If you plan on aging in your current home, or are considering downsizing to a home that needs to be tweaked, you will need to factor in both the cost and time involved in making modifications. Keep in mind accessibility upgrades to protect you from injury and keep you safe and independent after one occurs.
As Assisted Living Today explains, some common senior-specific accessibility modifications include:
- Installing ramps over any steps and handrails in hallways and on stairs.
- Using non-slip floors and mats in kitchens and bathrooms.
- Widening hallways and door frames to accommodate walking with a cane, walker, or using a wheelchair.
- Purchasing bright lights and adding additional lighting options to brighten dimly lit areas.
- Prioritizing Safety with smoke, break-in, and other alarms that use both light and sound to alert you to an emergency.
Moving into an assisted living facility
Some seniors want to age comfortably knowing they have help when they need it. National Caregivers Library points out that’s where an assisted living facility comes in. Essentially seniors can live independently in an apartment or condo-style residence with shared common rooms and access to professionals who can help with:
- Daily living activities like bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and taking medications
- Nutritional programs that include cafeteria-style dining
- Exercise and wellness activities
- Housekeeping and maintenance
- Organized recreational activities
- Social services and religious activities
- Transportation arrangements
- 24/7 security
You may not be at a place where you can decide or predict what you will need to live happily and healthily in your golden years— and that’s okay. Thinking about these options now, and talking about them with your family, is a great way to get the ball rolling. Take your time so you don’t jump into a decision you may regret, but also be honest with yourself about the reality of your physical and mental health and your financial means. You deserve to age in a way that makes your life feel meaningful and complete.
About the Author: Sharon Wagner is the creator of SeniorFriendly.info and the author of the upcoming book, The Ultimate Guide to Senior-Friendly Workouts, Fitness Gear, Healthy Recipes, and More. With both her website and her book, she hopes to provide helpful tips, tricks, advice, and product recommendations that help seniors stay active and engaged as they age.
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