Downsizing – Preparing A Home For Aging in Place

Wendy Weir
Published on October 24, 2016

Downsizing – Preparing A Home For Aging in Place

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If you you’re thinking of downsizing, as you get older, you may need to begin preparing a home for aging in place. This holds especially true if you’re planning to settle down there, and live out the rest of your life. Please keep in mind that, the home you select now can play an even bigger role, if you want to make particular updates for future ease of mobility issues. Below are some considerations that you should make before you buy your next home, especially if you are planning on living there for the rest of your life.

What Should Couples Do When Downsizing in Retirement …

What About Your Parents?

Many people 40 or 50 have to also consider helping their parents downsize or move into Assisted Living. This can be extremely difficult if you live in another state or even another country. Your not there… How do you go about the task of finding the best realtor to sell their house? Do you move there for that time period? Do you move your parents to your home until you can figure out what to do? Do you pay someone to live there with them; do the shopping, cooking, cleaning, errands, Doctor appointments? This can become quite expensive, do you have the money to run two households and pay for a caregiver? What if one or both of your parents need the services of a registered nurse for bathing, mobility issues and the like. Downsizing can hold many different obstacles.

Having personally gone thru this with my parents, friends parents and countless clients across the U.S. and abroad – it is not as difficult as you may fear. The style of home is one of the most important considerations. Ranch style homes provide the best options, for many reasons and will be discussed in detail later.

Can you walk along the neighborhood?

In your later years, when you are downsizing, its important to consider living somewhere that’s centrally located. A place where you can walk or utilize public transit will make your life drastically easier.

The neighborhood should be well lit, well maintained and therefore safe for pedestrians. The neighborhood should also have some nearby restaurants, grocery stores and retail stores. It would also be ideal if it wasn’t far from your doctor & a pharmacy. Here are some things to consider about a neighborhood when buying a home.

 

Are there local social opportunities?

Many people downsizing find life after retirement can be fun! Especially if you live in a strong community that has many activities and events for people to meet. A place that has enjoyable activities people are draw to vary a great deal. Some like outdoor activities like golf, tennis, swimming, walking paths. Other may prefer a nearby community center. Not only do they have athletic facilities but also sponsored activities. Note that, if there is a nearby community center, may of them have programs especially for seniors. There may be some fun activities, volunteer opportunities and even some interesting classes that you can enjoy. Places of worship, libraries, parks and even museums should also be nearby. These areas are going to be very important later in life and they should be easily accessible. The most successful retirement community, since the 60’s in the U.S. is in Sun City, Arizona, which has all these amenities. But there are additional tips for buying into a 55 and over retirement community 

Is it the right size?

When downsizing to a home that you are going to retire in, you should consider a ranch home. It is true, that a big house looks beautiful with its green lawn but you should ask yourself the question. How am I going to maintain it? A bigger house requires more effort to maintain and if you’re not able to take care of it yourself, will you have the ability to hire a housekeeper and lawn service. The wisest thing to do is to move to a smaller house with less space, inside and out. That way you can easily or inexpensively manage yourself.

Should I downsize my House?

Accessibility Challenges In Later Years

Accessibility is very important because it makes it easy to live in both now and when you are retiring. The home should have;

 

· Wide walkways

· A Ranch layout that has no entry stairs

· It should not have random steps

· There should be enough lighting

· The storage space should be easy to reach

· The counters should neither be too high nor too low

· There should be a walking shower with a seat

· The floor space should be big enough for easy movement

If you are having some accessibility challenges right now, it will only worsen as you age and therefore you should consider renovating it. Alternatively, you can move to a house that will make your movement much easier.

How to renovate, to improve accessibility

Looking for the perfect house is not an easy thing and sometimes, you may find one that you love, but its accessibility design is not good enough. If that is so, you should consider renovating it and doing so can make it ideal for aging. Some of the things that you can do include;

· Installing more lighting both indoors & outdoors to improve visibility

· Choosing chairs and sofas that have sturdy armrests & back support

· Installing handrails in the bathroom(i.e. to the bathtub & toilet) for extra support

· Adding non slip surfaces in the shower & bathtub to prevent falls

· Adding handrails to the indoor & outdoor stairs to help you maintain your balance

· Replacing doorknobs that are round with lever handles that can easily be opened

· Choosing counter tops & tables that have rounded edges

Check out this site – Living Room and Bedroom Barrier-Free Mobility Products

Keep your plan in mind

Some people are concerned with all the ‘stuff’ they have accumulated over the years, especially with a larger home. Don’t worry – there are many options to help you, here are four tips.   

I have worked with hundreds of couples who are downsizing, who want a ranch style home, but with mature trees, people their own age, close to shopping, Doctors … they are often disappointed in how much updating is necessary, and what it might cost. Here is an Example of how to Update A Ranch Style Home  with tips and ideas to save tens of thousands of dollars !!!

Depending on how much money you want to spend renovating your present home, or a new home, there are special FHA 203K Loans  where you can tackle big projects, such as adding a 1st floor master bedroom, bathroom renovations …

Related Articles;

Home Hunting Tips For Older Buyers via Deb Rhodes

Wendy Weir Relocation – Real Estate Agent, Relocation Specialist, Birmingham, MI

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Downsizing – Preparing A Home For Aging in Place
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