The idea of aging place is appealing to many seniors. Many want to stay in their home as long as possible. Their home is comfortable and they are happy there. It seems like the easy choice. But in reality, it’s one of life’s most difficult decisions.
The options are “age in place” remaining in the family home or move to a new place that is more suitable for your current situation. The rule of thumb seems to be: if you are healthy and active then staying makes the most sense. Or does it?
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Because everyone’s situation is different, there simply isn’t a right answer that applies across the board. Here are some key factors to consider when deciding if aging in place is right for you.
1. Physical Health Changes We are generally in denial but as we age our bodies grow weaker and our physical abilities diminish. If you need emergency care, do you have someone nearby to help you get it or are you on your own? If you have to stay in the hospital for an extended period, is there someone to take care of your home? And who would care for you when you return home? Many retirees have re-located to a retirement community that provides them peace of mind should health changes occur.
2. Social Life Many people are excited when they retire by the opportunity to enjoy hobbies and travel. However, they frequently miss the social interaction of the workplace. Over time the circle of friends will gradually diminish. Anyone who lives alone can find they are increasingly becoming more isolated. Especially during Winter months when it is harder to get out. One of the benefits of moving to a retirement community is the opportunity to meet new friends and participate in the activities and functions. Senior living is the time for socializing and new experiences, not becoming a recluse.
3. Transportation If you are unable to continue to drive your car how will it affect your lifestyle? Will you have to rely on family, friends or public transportation to go shopping, for medical appointments or even to visit a friend. Difficulty getting to places can further add to the isolation.
4. Home Maintenance Living in your home will require regular labor-intensive maintenance tasks that must be done. They are no problem now but things like cleaning out gutters becomes a challenge if you become unsteady on a ladder. Cleaning, washing windows and hauling garbage to the curb will become more difficult over time. The benefit of living in your own home decreases when faced with the increased difficulty of maintaining the property.
While many seniors want to remain in their home as long as possible, the reality is our housing needs change over time. There is no right time to make a change as every situation is different. The best advice I can ever give about when to make a move is: Don’t wait until you have to move. Don’t put it off until you have a health change or something unexpected happens and you are forced to quickly make a move.
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Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here