Smooth Move: Finding the Perfect Home for Your Golden Years
Most homeowners age 50 and over would prefer to stay in their homes throughout retirement, according to AARP. Growing older in the home, which the National Institute on Aging calls “aging in place,” takes some proactive planning. You’ll need to consider your long-term care and plan to get the support you’ll need.
For instance, some seniors struggle to climb stairs or mow a large yard. To maintain independence while enjoying their golden years, these individuals might consider moving into a smaller home or an assisted living facility.
Whether you’re looking for yourself or a retired loved one, here are some features to look for in a home:
First, consider the possibility that you might not be able to age in place. The Association for Community Living (ACL) reports that by age 65, individuals have a 70% chance of needing long-term care at some point.
You or a loved one may eventually need help with daily tasks, so it’s wise to look into local assisted living facilities. Before touring local facilities, it’s crucial to understand how to find the best facility for your needs. Start by searching online, reading reviews and testimonials, and comparing prices and services among different facilities near you. Note that assisted living facilities in the Baltimore area typically range from $1,500 to $7,825 per month, according to A Place for Mom.
If you find a facility you like, add your name to the waitlist. Because facilities book up months or years in advance, having your name on the list ensures you’ll have a spot if and when you need it.
Aging in Place
Reverse mortgages are an option for seniors who want to age in place. In some situations, they can help seniors afford home modifications and other expenses associated with growing older in their homes. Unfortunately, many seniors fall victim to reverse mortgage scams. Others find that their current home is simply too large, has too many stairs, or is otherwise difficult to maintain as they age.
Whatever the case may be, you or a loved one might consider downsizing into a smaller home. Many seniors find that smaller homes are more affordable and easier to manage, freeing them up to enjoy their retirement. As USA Today notes, downsizing “makes financial sense” for seniors. They can affordably relocate to desirable locations like the beach, mountains, or closer to family. Perhaps that’s why two-thirds of Americans now consider a tiny house to be their dream home.
Of course, downsizing doesn’t have to be limited to a single-family home. As baby boomers downsize during retirement, many of them are looking into “alternative housing” like home sharing or senior communities. This flexibility can make it even easier to find a smaller home in your desired location.
The Perfect Home
When house hunting, Fox Business urges senior homebuyers to consider:
- Hidden fees. As we age, medical expenses typically increase. When budgeting for retirement, plan for unexpected medical expenses. When considering where to live, ask about association fees, taxes, or higher expenses.
- Location. Although you might be tempted to head to the beach for your retirement years, many people prefer to move closer to family and friends. Consider any health conditions, your financial situation, and whether living near loved ones might make retirement easier and more enjoyable for you.
- Accessibility. Unexpected health conditions happen. Look for an accessible home that can support you regardless of what life throws your way. Wheelchair-friendly entrances, lowered kitchen countertops, and grab bars in the bathroom can all boost your quality of life now and in the future.
Talk to an accountant or financial advisor before making a decision. Hire a qualified realtor and research the market to understand what’s out there. By gathering information beforehand, you’ll be in a better position to sell your current house and relocate. Above all, be patient and don’t rush into anything. Remember, this is a major life decision; you’ll want to feel confident that the home will be the perfect place for you to enjoy your retirement for years to come.
By Sharon Wagner
Photo courtesy of Unsplash