Although we live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, winter in New England can have many homeowners wondering if they can put up with another year of shoveling their walkways and driveways on their own. As we age, so many factors play into whether we choose remain in the home we raised our family in, or whether it is time to downsize to a more manageable space. Owning a home brings maintenance challenges that can become increasingly difficult to manage, and we need to prepare for the physical and mental health challenges that are a part of the aging process. It is imperative to have conversations and a plan in place for the future for ourselves and for our loved ones.
So how do you decide whether to downsize, or stay put?
What is aging in place?
Aging in place is the idea of having seniors remain in their homes when they are able to take care of their basic needs and move around safely. Homeowners can modify their homes by adding a first floor full bath and master bedroom for when stairs become too difficult or dangerous to use. Elevators are another option. Some homeowners make plans to widen hallways and walkways for walkers and wheelchairs. Wider showers are also a great option to ease getting in or out. With a good support system and planning, aging in place can be a great way for seniors to maintain their independence in a safe, convenient environment.
Is downsizing a better option?
Aging in place is not always a realistic option for homeowners. Sometimes home modifications can prove too expensive or unrealistic, and sometimes declining health can force someone into needed new arrangements. Additionally, some homeowners have a lot of equity in their home that they would like to access for the next phase of their lives.
Here are some questions to ask yourself or your loved ones as you plan for senior living arrangements:
Do you want a smaller living space?
What are your financial goals for your later years?
What are the costs associated with selling versus staying put?
What are you other long-term health considerations?
Does your family live close by?
As always, conversations and careful planning are key to making the aging transition as easy as possible. There is not a time that is “too early” to discuss living arrangements for ourselves or our loved ones. In fact, by planning ahead for these transitions, you can add valuable space to your home that you can use as rental space or guest space until you are ready to have a loved one move in. If you are having the conversation about downsizing, or aging in place for yourself or a family member, give me a call today to discuss your options. I would love to talk about how to prepare your home for sale, or advise which modifications you could make to your home that will ultimately increase its value down the road when it does become time to sell.