Submitted by Gabriella Sutro
Independent living is often cited as being good for one’s wellbeing, so it’s no surprise that the concept of “aging in place” has become so popular again. Not too long ago, aging people lived on their own or with family rather than living in a nursing home or other kind of care facility. If possible, most people today again choose to live out their lives on their own terms.
Preparing for physical safety and financial security are the most immediate concerns that come to mind when planning for aging in place. However, convenience and overall happiness should also be considered before deciding where to settle. Making a few adjustments or a big, yet comfortable, change are possible choices.
Below are three housing options to weigh when considering plans for continued independent living.
Renovate a Current Home Adding entry ramps, bath bars, sit-in tubs or stall showers and other safety features may make it physically possible to stay in a home. However, renovation costs can add up quickly especially if they’re needed all at once, so it’s best to plan ahead and budget accordingly. Home maintenance should also be factored into this living choice. Who will manage the upkeep if the property has multiple floors or a large yard?
Right-Size to a Manageable Floor Plan Some may find it a better option to sell a current home and purchase a new one with a barrier-free, ranch-style design — rather than experience the stress of home renovations and the concern of having too much house — for later needs. Moving nearer to family and friends can also add to maintaining an active social life, and being close to immediate help, if needed.
Buy a New Home With Family Members Floor plans for multigenerational homes are often designed with individual privacy in mind while still allowing family to be nearby. One benefit to home sharing is that combined maintenance costs minimize living expenses. Also, this option is an excellent way to help family members enter into new homeownership with possible family expansion down the road.
Aging in place requires thoughtful preparation. Speaking to family and getting in touch with a trusted financial adviser is a good first step to begin this journey. If appropriate, working with a reputable and knowledgeable real estate broker is the second step. Aging in place, i.e., living in comfort, safety and happiness, is something to consider earlier than later.
Gabriella “Gella” Sutro, a native of Sweden, has brought the hard work and persistence she gained from a career as a world-class ski racer to a successful 25 year career as a real estate broker for Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate in the Roaring Fork Valley. Please feel free to contact her if your aging in place considerations include buying a new home.