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Will Your Current Home Adapt to Your Needs as You Age?

By Carol Marak August 19, 2022 Lifestyle

After caring for my parents, I looked long and hard at my lifestyle. I knew urgent changes weren’t necessary, but carefully assessing my situation made me feel in control of the future.

First, I dealt with my health and made changes to my diet. Then I added more exercise into my daily routine. And after those factors were addressed, I looked at my home.

That was an eye opening experience.

My home was situated in the suburbs which forced me to be car dependent. What I learned from helping my parents was to be as independent as possible, in all areas. So, I knew having to drive everywhere to get anything will one day be a concern.

If you’ve ever lived in the suburbs of any city, you know how isolated that can make you feel. All my experiences of suburban living have brought isolation and disconnection.

So, of course, I was concerned for my future.

Is housing a concern for you? Do you hope to grow older and live at home for as long as possible? AARP says 89 percent of Americans prefer to age in place over living in an assisted living community or a nursing home.

If that’s your hope for the future, to stay right where you are, ask yourself, “Is my home set up and will it support me as I go through the various stages of aging?”

The Goal of Aging in Place

The goal of aging in place is to avoid a move to senior housing and instead stay in your existing one or maybe move from a multilevel house to a one-level house or an apartment.

A popular trend is the tiny house village, a development for like-minded individuals to rent or own a small dwelling and to create a supporting community life. A friend recently moved to a tiny home village at Lake Chapala. Her little space is just over 400 sq. feet.

I’ve also heard of others moving into micro-unit housing (small studio apartments in buildings with common living rooms and kitchens).

But the question remains: which option is best, and how do you know which one to choose? And even before you start planning a move, do you know what to look for and whether your house or another one will meet your needs?

There are many factors you should consider. Understanding your options and potential needs is the first step. Second, you need to understand your healthcare requirements.

You may prefer to stay where you are, in the home you love, but doing so may require modifications and changes to make it safer and more comfortable. Some people prefer a group setting, where companionship and planned activities fill the day.

How to Assess Your Home

  • Functionality: Can you navigate your home safely?
  • Location: Is the home in a community with access to friends and family and things you enjoy doing?
  • Safety: Will you be able to get help in an emergency?
  • Services: Are there nearby services you’ll want or need, such as medical care, shopping, and entertainment?
  • Affordability: Can you afford to live in a private home and pay for your other expenses?

Maybe a move is necessary but maybe not – or maybe all you need to do is make a few modifications. What I do know is you will need a bedroom and full bath on the first floor. That’s absolute.

Other Things to Help You Age in Place

  • Utilize technology to stay safe and connected.
  • Hire private duty care. A home companion for someone who lives alone can do light housework or cooking, take you shopping, etc.
  • Consider all transportation options.
  • Have food delivered if you can’t cook.

I may not be able to live out the rest of my life in my home, but how I’ve set myself up and where I live will suit me just fine. And most importantly, it will serve my needs very well over the next 10 years.

How comfortable do you feel with your housing situation? Would you need to downsize, move closer to the city proper, or simply make modifications to your home? Please share your thoughts with the community!

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The Author

Carol Marak founded the Elder Orphan Facebook Group and She’s an experienced family caregiver who focuses her efforts on solo agers. Carol believes the act of giving care puts primary caregivers at risk of aging alone. Follow Carol on and enjoy her Live events on smart aging topics.

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