Your senior years are a life stage that requires reflection and big decisions. As we age, our mobility tends to decrease, and health issues can pop up. These changes leave many individuals wondering how they can continue to live on their own and whether they can afford it. Author, speaker, and investor Trond Undheim invites you to read on for various housing and transportation options to help you remain independent in your community without breaking the bank.
Staying at Home
As USA.org notes, aging in place has become a popular option but often requires modifications to your current home to assist with senior living. It is necessary to have services and care support in order for you to remain in the home for as long as you can. For those who can afford the cost, in-home care is available to maintain comfort and safety in your home if your health declines. Services such as lawn care, snow removal, along with cleaning and home maintenance are considerations as you age and your strength and mobility wane.
Downsizing is a smart choice when deciding to age in place. Benefits include less square footage, meaning less utility and maintenance costs, plus if you move into a smaller home you can opt for a floor plan with no stairs. Before buying a home, research home prices in your area so you know what you can afford. It can be helpful to review what is required for a mortgage, since it may have been years since you took one out. Remember that they will pull your credit score, so be sure that your credit is in good standing. And weigh your options before choosing a fixed or variable rate loan.
It may be tempting to buy a property “as is” because of the lower price, but be aware of the risks involved, including having to pay for any major repairs that may need to be addressed upon moving in. If you want to explore this option, work with both a real estate agent and an attorney who are experienced in “as is” real estate so you don’t get into a commitment that turns out to be a bad deal.
Several modifications can be done to your home to support your senior years, ranging from minor costs and installations to bigger projects. Keeping everything on one level of your home reduces your use of stairs, which limits the risk of falls. Additionally, lighting hallways and installing grab bars in the shower or bathtub and near toilets also allow you to navigate your home and reduce your chances of falling. More complex modifications can be done to make it more senior-friendly, including installing curbless showers and walk-in bathtubs and lowering sinks and countertops.
Housing Safety Concerns
No matter where you choose to live, address any potential fall hazards for a safer outdoor environment. If any of the trees in your yard pose tripping issues, such as large roots or fallen branches, call in a professional to have the tree removed. You can find a local tree removal company by going online where you can then narrow your search based on criteria like high ratings and good reviews.
Also, if you have a medium or large dog, consider purchasing a cage or crate for them to use at night. This way, you’ll know exactly where your pet is should you need to get up in the middle of the night. Not only will it give you peace of mind, but having your dog use a crate means you’ll avoid tripping over them in the dark. Be certain to research the different types of crates available to find one that suits your dog.
Alternative Aging-in-Place Options
Domain explains that many seniors opt to share housing costs by home sharing, or living with roommates. This growing trend allows seniors to help each other with chores, make friends with one another, and gain a sense of community. They also never have to feel unsafe in their own home, as roommates can provide help in case of a medical emergency or fall.
“Village-to-village” models provide support and resources to aging adults who want to remain in their own communities. In terms of cost, members pay dues in return for services such as home repairs. Villages also offer lists of home-maintenance contractors, who may offer discounts to members. Most villages also host opportunities to socialize with neighbors, such as game days, parties, and trips to nearby places of interest. This structure offers many of the services available in retirement communities without having to uproot your life to a new home.
What About Transportation?
For those who decide to remain in their home, transportation is another aspect you must consider. For the safety of yourself and others, driving may not be recommended or even possible in your senior years, leaving you wondering how you will get around to doctor’s appointments, shopping, or activities. You don’t want to feel stuck in your home without having safe options for transportation.
There are some transportation services that are offered free of charge to those in need. These services often include wheelchair accessibility and befriending programs where you travel with a buddy to reduce anxiety.
Making the Right Decision for You
Planning for your senior years should emphasize your comfort and ease of living as you age. All options and possible scenarios must be considered. Making sure your home is set up for your senior needs is crucial, but so is making sure you have affordable transportation available. Ultimately, you need to make a decision that is in your best interest and ensures you have everything that you need to live comfortably in your golden years.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Hazel Bridges is the creator of AgingWellness.org, a website that aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors. She’s a breast cancer survivor. She challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspire others to do so as well.