An important thing to consider as we age is whether to downsize to a smaller home, move to a new location, or stay in your existing home. Keep in mind that at age 60, we cannot anticipate how we may feel at age 80 or 90. Many people do choose to age in their family home (known as “aging in place”) because of special memories but this may not be the best decision for Future You. Consider the following issues:
The demographics of your neighborhood.
You may have bought your home because of proximity to schools. Without children in the house, is this still a priority? How many of your longtime friends and family continue to live close by? How often do you see these friends? Is the neighborhood in transition with younger couples moving in?
Where is your home?
Location is important whether staying or moving because a time may come when you no longer drive. What are your choices for alternative transportation—are you able to walk some places? Is there public transportation or senior-specific transportation available in your town? Is your home close to activities, restaurants, and stores? Will you have easy access to activities for socializing with old and new friends?
Is your home aging-friendly?
You may not see dangers to current or future mobility due to familiarity with your home or in the excitement of buying a new one. Be aware that vision issues and balance may be compromised due to medications or health issues. Having your unique home situation assessed professionally based on your health and the layout of the home will alert you to adjustments that will improve its functionality and allow you to age in place.
Considering a condo?
If you are considering a move to a condominium or apartment, plan to be close to family, friends, stores, activities of interest and medical support. If downsizing to a smaller home, consider one level living. Either way, a full bathroom on the first floor is advisable and also adds to the value of the house. Avoid interior stairs or steps that may hamper movement. Request an indoor assigned parking space located close to the elevator. And keeping long-term mobility in mind, alternative transportation should be easily available.
Or a residential community?
You may also consider moving to a residential community. It is best to move while you can enjoy activities and develop new friendships. Do not leave it until your mobility or general health has deteriorated to a point where you won’t have the opportunity to enjoy it or be able to choose a community that suits you best. It may cost less to live in assisted living when the present home is costly to maintain. On the other hand, if you need to hire private homecare, it will add considerably to the cost.
Staying or moving is a difficult decision no matter how old you are. If you’re in the Boston-area, contact me for your personal home safety assessment and further discussion of what the right move might be for you.