The most recent survey by the National Council on Aging showed that 75 percent of Americans over the age of 60 intend to stay in their homes the rest of their lives. However, the reality is that many seniors will leave their homes for unforeseen financial or health reasons.
Despite the challenges of aging in place, planning ahead and making smart decisions now can go a long way toward achieving that goal.
Of course, one of the simplest ways to maintain your independence and ability to remain in your home is to stay healthy. While control over our health is limited, especially as we age, it’s not entirely out of our hands.
Regular exercise and an active social life are essential to long-term mental and physical health. It can be as easy as creating a routine that includes daily walks and community involvement. Combined with healthy eating habits and your personal physician’s advice, this approach could be the difference between enjoying many years in your home and an early exit.
Eventually, age will impact your health and mobility in some way. Taking a proactive approach to this certainty can offset the difficulties it presents. Keep future challenges in mind when maintaining your home, or at least make plans to improve your home’s accessibility even before it becomes mandatory.
Small changes like rocker panel light switches and lever-style door handles can be a welcomed feature if dexterity becomes a problem. Hard surface floors rather than carpet will make navigating a home in a wheelchair easier, but be aware that stone and tile surfaces may prove to be too slippery. A shower with a low threshold and a seating option can be both stylish and functional. Similarly, integrating seating and easily accessible storage and appliances into an updated kitchen could pay off down the road.
Advances in technology are also proving to be a wise investment in creating a home that older adults can manage. Wireless capabilities can put climate, lighting and security controls right in a homeowner’s hand via their smartphone. Video communication options can make staying in touch with friends, family and even medical professionals less of an impediment to living alone.
Explore some additional resources on aging in place here. And when the time comes to put your plan into action, let an Open Mortgage loan specialist explain how our mortgage options support your efforts. Contact me today!