How to Get Set Up to Age in Place
Safely and Confidently
Guest Article by Jim Vogel
Buying a home during your senior years
isn’t always ideal, but it does present unique opportunities. You can add a
handful of useful features to your home buying wish list that will prove
beneficial well into your golden years. Here’s how to get set up to age in
place in safety—and with confidence.
Downsizing is a smart
first step when faced with an impending move, says Business Insider, if you
approach it correctly. That means going through your belongings and hanging
onto only the things that you have room for and truly enjoy. But if you’re not
ready to let go of some items yet, putting them in storage for the short term
is a handy solution.
The average cost of a storage unit in
Lanham is $113 per month, but smaller units
can be had for less, and deals are available. Later, once you settle into your
new place, you can decide what you want to keep from storage, if anything.
It may also help to be gentle on
yourself. Change can be stressful and even traumatic, even
under ideal circumstances. If you’re moving out of a home you’ve lived in (and
loved) for years, it may be even tougher to part with possessions.
Psychology Today recommends taking proactive steps toward your future
instead of remaining passive while things happen around you. Embracing the
future as it arrives—and changing your mindset—can do wonders for your mental
and emotional state.
Be a Forward Thinker
You might love the garden on a potential
property, but in a few more years, will the acreage seem daunting instead? When
you’re shopping for a home leading up to (or during) retirement, a perspective
shift is helpful.
Think about five, ten, and 15 years in
the future. What features will be handy, and which will be a headache? You may
opt for a lower-maintenance property such as an apartment or condo or another type of senior living, or a house
with a small and manageable yard.
You may also look to find a home that
already has accessibility features and is only one story. While an ornate
staircase may look lovely today, in a few more years, it might cause you
Invest in Modifications
The unfortunate truth is that many older
people experience mobility and other challenges related to aging. Even
something as simple as knee pain can cause your daily activities to be a
struggle. Therefore, when shopping for a home during your golden years, you
will want to consider accessibility and modifications for aging in place safely.
The good news is that many newer
properties are incorporating universal design into their builds. Universal design is an approach
that involves features that are accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
Common elements include knob-free door handles for easy opening, wider doorways
with zero drop for walkers and wheelchairs to maneuver, and grab bars in
potentially slick areas (it typically costs $140 to have grab bars
Of course, if you decide to build a
custom home, you can also collaborate with your contractor to incorporate
accessible features. If you buy a home without such features, it may be
possible to make modifications for walker or
wheelchair access. Plus, there are financial programs to assist people with
disabilities and veterans afford such measures, says The Balance.
Choose a Neighborhood with
Many older adults tend to stay in more as
they age, partly due to physical challenges. For example, consider the fact
that you may not be able to drive safely as you get older. Hearing and vision
difficulties—plus slower reaction times—can make driving dangerous for older adults, says
the National Institute on Aging.
You may not be there yet, but thinking
ahead can help you choose a location that’s safe for the long term. Though grocery delivery and ridesharing services
are common, they’re easier to access in urban areas rather than rural ones, so
consider neighborhoods carefully.
Preparing to move—and downsizing—isn’t
easy at any stage of life. But with the right mindset and a plan, you can
successfully shed excess belongings, settle into a new place, and enjoy your
golden years with less stress.
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Licensed In: MD
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