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Top Tips for Navigating Older and Wiser Housing Options

Older and Wiser Housing Options
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Top Tips for Navigating Older and Wiser Housing Options

Priorities can change significantly with age, and along with those often comes a desire for a different housing situation. A supportive, comfortable environment can make all the difference in whether or not you grow older independently and safely, and whether you end up in a less desirable situation. To help with your decision, here’s information on two of the primary housing options that offer a more independent lifestyle for older people: assisted living and senior-friendly houses.
A hand when you need it

Oftentimes, older adults enjoy significant mobility and independence, yet need a bit of assistance with daily activities. Perhaps dexterity is waning and it’s challenging to button a shirt, or a balance issue prevents bathing without help. For those who need a hand with routine, fundamental tasks, an assisted living arrangement could be the perfect solution. It’s an environment that allows freedom and independence with just enough support and structure for seniors to bloom.

If you’d prefer assisted living, you should first get an idea of prices because they vary widely. There are numerous assisted living facilities with a wide selection of amenities and advantages. You can choose from one-bedroom and studio apartment-style options. All are home-like living spaces, rather than institutional ones.

On top of the richly varied settings, there are plenty of perks to evaluate. For instance, you can receive assistance with personal needs, such as taking medications and preparing meals. Some facilities are within walking distance to museums, some are pet-friendly, and some provide park-like walking paths. Because there are so many wonderful choices, many people find it helpful to tour facilities when weighing their options.

Senior-friendly house

For some seniors, a home designed for aging in place can make good sense. Since there are not many homes on the market already designed for aging in place, and since needs can vary widely, many seniors elect to modify an existing residence. Here are some of the more common home modifications seniors choose to help create a more senior-friendly property:

  • Rethink the exterior. Seniors often prefer low-maintenance home options whenever possible. Spending hours in the hot sun, climbing ladders, bending, and stooping are all things that many people want to leave behind in their golden years. With that in mind, an easy-care exterior is often a first choice for seniors. The Plan Collection suggests siding options such as vinyl, fiber cement, brick veneer, or manufactured stone. Another recommendation is a maintenance-free deck for savoring sunshine and cookouts, and low-maintenance landscaping to reduce labor in the yard.
  • Ease the entryway. Seniors often struggle with climbing steps as they get older, so an easy-to-navigate ramp can help older adults stay on the go. Age in Place recommends installing at least one entryway with a 36’-wide door frame, ensuring all sidewalks are smooth and well-lit, and avoiding letting plants and shrubs overhang the path.
  • Structure your space. A living space on the ground floor helps seniors avoid climbing stairs. The house should provide ample, even lighting throughout, and the floorplan should be spacious enough for navigating with equipment like a cane or a walker. Also, all walkways should be open, well-lit, and clutter-free.
  • Interior ideas. Throughout the home, remove all slipping and tripping hazards such as electrical cords, damaged carpets, and throw rugs. Bathrooms can be particularly dangerous for falls, due to the combination of water and smooth surfaces. Install grab bars for support and a taller toilet to ease transitioning, and consider adding non-slip flooring to help with traction.

If your home is too large for your means or can’t be sufficiently modified, it may be time to downsize into a smaller and less expensive home that’s already accessible. When you’re looking for an accessible home, you’ll want to research home prices and estimate your income and expenses to get an idea of what you can afford. You’ll also need to account for moving costs. The easiest way to find a moving company is to do some research online.

Aging might mean you need a little support with getting around, but you can still live an independent life. Decide if you prefer an assisted living environment or home modifications. Priorities might shift as we age, and sometimes that’s a wonderful thing.

Harry Cline |
The New Caregiver’s Comprehensive Resource: Advice, Tips, and Solutions from Around the Web

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