As the population continues to age, an increasing number of retirees are opting to stay in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of their own homes for a longer period of time during their later years.
Ageing in place, as it is commonly known, is an important concept for many seniors who want to maintain their independence, control, and dignity as they age. There are many benefits to aging in place, including the ability to maintain social connections, familiarity with the neighbourhood, and the ability to receive care and support from family and friends.
Despite being a favourable option, ageing in place comes with its own unique set of financial challenges. From home modifications to healthcare costs, there are many factors to consider, which is why it is important to plan ahead and implement strategies to make it more financially feasible.
What should retirees consider when preparing to age in place?
As retirees prepare to age in place, there are several important factors to consider. First and foremost, it is crucial to assess the safety and accessibility of the home, including any potential hazards or obstacles that may need to be addressed. This can include modifications such as grab bars in the bathroom, wheelchair ramps, or wider doorways to accommodate mobility aids.
It is also important to consider the availability of social support networks, access to healthcare, and transportation options. In addition, retirees should plan for any potential changes in their financial situation, including healthcare costs and long-term care expenses.
Financial Adviser Andrew Nicolaou from 360 Financial Strategists suggests that when it comes to the financial aspect of ageing in place, retirees should “look at downsizing the home or making renovations so that it is appropriate for when stairs may be an issue”.
“Cost of care & medication is also a big consideration. All of these things can add financial stress and anxiety in what should be a positive time,” Nicolaou says.
“Some retirees are also entering these years with mortgages and debt and cannot financially afford to stay in the same home on their retirement income,” Nicolaou says.
“Additionally, travel and doing the things that you have put off doing whilst working is usually at its peak in the earlier years of retirement – make sure that this is accounted for in your retirement plan.”
Although the financial and organisational factors of preparing to age in place are important considerations, retirees hoping to age in place should also consider the following:
- Staying physically active is essential to maintaining your health as you age. Regular exercise can help prevent falls and other health issues, and it can also help you maintain your independence.
- Social isolation can be a problem for retirees, especially those who live alone. Staying socially active can help prevent depression and other mental health issues.
- Engage in mentally stimulating activities like reading, doing puzzles, or taking classes. This can help keep your mind sharp and prevent cognitive decline.
- Technology can make it easier to stay connected with family and friends, access healthcare services, and stay engaged with the world.
- Many communities offer resources and services specifically designed for seniors, such as transportation services, meal delivery programs, and home health care services.
- Regular medical check-ups and preventive care can help you stay healthy and catch health issues early.
By taking these factors into account, retirees can ensure that they are prepared to age in place and maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible.