Many people plan for retirement far in advance of their senior years: They fund IRAs, buy beachfront property, practice their golf swings. But when it comes to ensuring a comfortable life during the golden years, they often forget to assess the physical limitations of their housing situations.
“Most of us want to ‘age in place’ with occasional side trips to other nice places,” writes Jane Bryant Quinn in the AARP Bulletin. But when that’s no longer a possibility, “we can blunder into decisions simply by doing nothing.”
Quinn advises her readers to consider their living arrangements long before they are faced with the natural decline that comes with age. Studying the home with a realistic eye to the future is critical.
“People hoping to stay in their homes should look at the floor plans as if they were already using a walker,” suggests Quinn. Are there bedrooms on the main floor? If not, homeowners may need to convert another room into a bedroom. Can the main floor bathroom accommodate a wheelchair? Can a ramp be built from the front porch to the sidewalk?
These are all things to consider when looking at the viability of staying in your home long-term.
“If you don’t want to renovate, perhaps you should simplify – sell the house now and buy a condominium in the same community, to stay close to your friends and social activities,” writes Quinn.
The bottom line is to plan ahead, rather than waiting for a health crisis to force you into difficult choices. Writes Quinn: “What can you afford? What’s a reasonable way to live? Today I’m OK, but tomorrow? I want to be prepared.”
Want to discuss your housing plans for when you retire? Get in touch with our experience brokers who can advise you on your search.