Seniors Aging in Place Use These Strategies to Make Their Homes Accessible Guest Author: Andrea Piacquadio
(Photo credit Andrea Piacquadio)
In a report outlining the findings of The United States of Aging Survey, 90% of seniors said that they plan on living at home for the next 5-10 years. As discussed in this same survey, the benefits of aging in place are significant. Many individuals stated that they plan to remain in their current homes to stay close to family, to prevent the stress of moving, and to save on living costs.
Aside from the benefits mentioned in the survey, separate studies have found that aging in place can also have lasting psychological and physical health advantages. However, although living at home is a possibility for many, there are important safety considerations that need to be addressed. One of the most significant concerns is making all required home accessibility modifications.
If you recently made the decision to stay in your current home but are unsure as to how your home will meet your accessibility needs in the future, ElderPride invites you to consider some of the most important steps you can take.
The following is one of many resources from ElderPride designed to help all seniors age with pride without feeling marginalized, isolated, or forgotten. For more inspiring content, be sure to visit our blog.
Take Inventory of What Modifications Need to be Made
The term “accessible” refers to a wide range of modifications that can be made to an individual’s home to best meet their physical needs. This can include (but is certainly not limited to) entryway ramps, stairlifts, bathtubs with entry doors, grab bars, and non-slip rugs.
When looking to incorporate accessible features within your home, it is best to start by taking an inventory of which ones you need now or will need in the future. Start from your entryway and work your way through each room. Carefully assess what features would be ideal to have and that would best match your current and anticipated needs.
If you want a more thorough inventory, ask family members and/or a medical professional to review your list.
Create a Home Improvement Budget
Once you’ve got a general idea of the modifications you’ll need to make, do some online research to get an idea of what your overall costs will be. This will give you an idea of what you need to budget to make these improvements.
If you’re looking at a significant price tag, your home’s value can be a source of funds. A cash-out refinance is one option many people use to pay for home repairs. This guide from PennyMac explains that this type of loan replaces your existing mortgage with a higher-balance mortgage, and the difference between the two is given to you in a cash lump sum by your lender. If you have lived in your home for a long time and have built a lot of equity, another option is to take out a home equity loan, either in cash or as a line of credit.
Be Honest About Your Home’s Ability to Meet Your Needs
In some cases, completing an accessibility inventory will reveal that your current home is not suited to meet your long-term needs. Whether the improvements required would be too costly and extreme, or the layout simply isn’t fit for various modifications, it is important to be completely honest about your home’s ability to meet your accessibility needs.
This can be a painful and disappointing realization. Thankfully, there are excellent options available to you if this happens.
One of the best solutions is to sell your current home and purchase a property that already has many of the accessible features you desire. Another option is to buy a home that can easily be modified with the features you need.
To help pay for your modifications and to get the best deal for your home, make use of an online home proceeds calculator. These calculators can help you find out how much you’ll make off of the sale of your home. Once you’ve determined an estimated range of what you will earn from the sale of your home, you can better decide how much to spend on your new home, and how much to put toward accessibility renovations.
Finalize Your List
After completing a full home inventory, go back to your original list to finalize what modifications you definitely want to make. At this stage, it is especially important to seek the opinions of family, friends, and/or medical professionals.
By having conversations with others, you can more easily narrow down your list. You can also decide what items take priority, and which are not as urgent.
Research and Interview Local Contractors
According to U.S. News & World Report, it is crucial to research and interview local contractors before agreeing to any home renovations. Ask about everything from pricing to timelines to the quality of the brands that they use. In addition to searching the internet, it can be helpful to ask family and friends for contractor recommendations.
To stay in your home for the long-term, advanced accessibility planning is crucial. Once you’ve identified your needs and have found a trustworthy contractor to install quality features or maybe even find a smaller, more accessible home, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that your home is safe and there to support your needs.