The answer to where you want to live tends to vary at different stages in your life, but it’s most challenging to decide when you’re ready to settle permanently. Some people experience that moment in their 50s, but others get that epiphany even younger. Many questions accompany that sudden awareness, including where you want your forever home to be.
Benefits of Aging in Place
The concept of aging in place began to gain recognition in the 1980s, but it’s now fully realized in today’s age of technology. It’s possible to optimize your home and community with various features. This brings several benefits:
● Quality of life: Staying in your home as you get older can bring a sense of comfort. It can also decrease the need to strain yourself in adjusting to a new environment, which is better for your future physical health.
● Loving environment: Aging in place doesn’t restrict the hours you can be with your loved ones. You can also decide to spend how long you can engage with people in your neighborhood.
● Increased independence: As implied, there’s a certain freedom in choosing to make your house your forever home. Having this level of security in being able to make your own choices is unmatched.
Deciding Where to Age
Most people have the option of a nursing home and aging in place. Aging in place is defined as being capable of living on your property, which is entirely different from living in a nursing home as it entails relocating to a healthcare facility.
Ninety percent of Americans who are 65 years or older plan to age in their own home for the remainder of their days. However, you need to plan early if you want to find a house that suits you now and as you get older. Here are a couple of choices for a forever home, plus how to prepare for the future.
Options for a Forever Home
Some people may decide to renovate their homes when contemplating where they will age in place. It’s a great way to stay in your current house while incorporating different accessibility upgrades.
It’s also wise to consider the possibility of constructing your own forever home. This is a viable option if you haven’t bought a property of your own just yet or if you’re contemplating selling your current one. Building a house with the idea of aging in place in mind enables you to have an intentional design.
Considerations That May Be Essential Later
The main aspect most people contemplate is the cost of living, which is always a good place to start when you’re thinking long term. Certain states are more affordable when creating a forever home. In terms of design, the factors to note include:
● Stairs: Look at optimal stair designs for the elderly. Ramps are also an inclusion worth looking into.
● Bathroom: Most elderly people who chose to age in place recommend grab rails by the toilet, shower and bath.
● Lighting: Buying a home with good lighting is aesthetically pleasing and good for your eyes in the long run.
● Seating: As you age, you begin to tire more often. Prepare multiple seating options throughout the home as resting areas for the future.
● Cabinetry: Cabinets and other furniture with multiple shelves are worth installing, as they will be easier to reach as you age. Selecting larger hardware can ease future arthritis burdens by making cabinets easier to open.
● Outdoor access: It’s good to have a bit of sunlight for some Vitamin D when you age, so you may want to have a porch or balcony in your forever home.
Plan Your Home and Take Your Time
Choosing where you want to age and the specifics of your forever home is a big decision. It’s good to prepare and plan, but you don’t have to rush the process. Take things slow and steady to find a home you’ll love to live and age in.
Evelyn Long is the founder of home living magazine Renovated where she writes about the current housing market and real estate. She has also written for publications like National Association of Realtors, Building Enclosure, and McKissock. You can see more of Evelyn's work by following her on X.