Aging in Place: Can you Stay in your Home?

 

As you get older and time changes your body and some of your ability to care for yourself and your home, you may become concerned about the future. You want to stay in the home where you have lived for may years: the home where you raised your children and built a network of friends, even though some of those either moved away or passed on. You’ve noticed that your neighborhood isn’t as safe and secure as it once was, but you still don’t want to move. You want to stay here. What are the things you should consider?

 

Safety in the Home

Can you navigate your home safely? If you have two stories, you should consider getting a chair to transport you up and down the stairs if you’re at all unsteady on your feet. Preventing falls is paramount. Make sure your home has enough lighting inside and outside, to prevent falls and also for security reasons.  Make sure wood floors are unwaxed and aren’t slippery. Don’t use throw rugs; they can easily trip you. Bathtubs and showers should be equipped with handholds that provide a firm grip when stepping in and out. Are your hallways wide enough for a wheelchair, should you need one someday? Is your home in good repair, without the need for excessive upkeep?

 

Resources

Do you have access to family to help you if you need it?  If you could no longer drive, are there senior agencies or programs that would provide necessary transportation that you can afford?  What about shopping centers, markets and health care? Are they nearby? Can you get there on your own and if not, is there a resource that would help you?

 

Location

Do you live in an area with extreme weather? Will you be able to tolerate it, or would a milder climate be better? What about things like shoveling snow and putting up storm windows? Will you be able to do that and if not, pay someone to do it, or would family or friends help?

 

Finances

Will you have enough money for basic expenses? For how long?  If money is a concern, and especially if your home is paid for, a reverse mortgage might provide you with much-needed cash. You will still own your home and will be able to live in it for the rest of your life.

 

These are just a few things to consider when thinking about aging in place. Think about it, and be honest with yourself. Hopefully, you will be able to stay in the home that you love.