Photo Credit: Elaine, flickr.com
As we and our loved ones age, our physical and financial strength often diminish. The decision then must be made whether to stay in our homes or move to a place where we may be assisted by others when the need arises. The term used for people who want to live their lives out in their own homes is called ‘Aging in Place.’ As a matter of fact, there is a National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC). The NAIPC recently surveyed older adults, and 90 percent of them say they’d rather age in place than move to an assisted living facility.
While aging in place allows you or your elderly loved ones the blessing of staying in your home and neighborhood, it also comes with its challenges. One of the most pressing challenges for many is the cost. Following are a few areas you may wish to consider to ensure you and your loved ones are financially prepared to stay in your home.
The Cost to Age in Place
As the nation’s debt continues to climb, less money is being put into establishing the well-being of senior citizens. A recent article in Forbes recognizes the declining support of federal funds and encourages people to think outside of the box when it comes to financing aging in place. Specifically, the need to think now about how to prepare ourselves for later on.
As healthcare costs rise and insurance coverage weakens, start focusing on maintaining good health now to reduce your costs later on. Age-friendly homes can reduce the chance or frequency of falls, which will decrease emergency room visits and doctor’s office bills. When a home is properly prepared for aging in place, there is a less likelihood of injury. And when injuries do occur, if the home is age-prepped, there is an easier and a quicker recovery.
There are a few preparations that can be made now to age in place later. Handrails along steps, through hallways, or in the bathroom will help prevent falls. Add a ramp to your front or back entrance to avoid climbing up and down stairs. Consider adding extra lights to entryways, around steps, and throughout the house to prevent tripping. If little renovations are made over time, you will not have to worry about affording major home changes and their costs after retirement.
Financing the Rest of Your Life
As you or your loved ones prepare for the future, make sure you are prepared to handle all of life’s finances. Work on paying off the mortgage to avoid that large monthly bill. Look into investments, whether in real estate or stocks, as a means for income after retirement. Look into insurance options or save money to pay for healthcare out of pocket. By preparing now through home renovations or remodeling and finance and investment options, you can face the future knowing that you are adequately prepared to enjoy aging in place.
—Stephanie Bahr Bentley