Aging in place is an attractive option for many baby boomers and retirees who value independence and living life on their own terms. This lifestyle choice is a commitment to remaining in the home that you know and love, rather than relocating to a retirement community or assisted living facility. Establishing an aging in place plan denotes taking responsibility for your quality of life without being a burden on your family or community. Now is the time to start planning for your senior years and making small changes a little bit at a time.
Trying to prepare everything at once can be a daunting endeavor, and some changes you may want to make, such as major home renovations, may displace you from your home for days or even weeks. Home repairs and modifications are easier to make before your senior years, and it’s never too early to start planning ahead.
This is a guide for adults who want to live out the rest of their lives with dignity, freedom, and confidence in their own homes during their senior years. It is also a useful resource for baby boomers who are planning for the future and actively trying to make changes to live more comfortably where they are now. Perhaps you have a parent who has limited mobility.
Choosing the Right Home
Your current home may be full of memories, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right home for you as you get older. Now is a good time to consider downsizing to a home that is more suited to your current situation. The large house that you raised your kids in may be too much to handle for just you and your spouse. Large homes require lots of maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep, and all of those tasks become more difficult with age. To determine if your current home can be a lifelong home, start by asking yourself the following AARP HomeFit questions:
- Is there at least one step-free entrance into your home?
- Is there a bedroom, full bathroom and kitchen on the main level?
- Are the interior doorways at least 36 inches wide?
- Are there secure handrails on both sides of the stairs?
Home Modifications to Consider
There are many ways that you can modify your existing home or a new home that you move into to make it comfortable and accommodating.
According to the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, six out of 10 falls occur in homes with a high prevalence of hazards like loose throw rugs, a lack of tub/shower grab bars, and obstructed pathways.