There will come a time when you’ll need to consider aging in place in your current home or moving for health and wellness reasons.
A desire among many seniors is to age in place. According to the Senior Resource Guide, the term means,
…that you will be remaining in your own home for the later years of your life; not moving into a smaller home, assisted living, or a retirement community, etcetera.
Finding Comfort in Your Existing Home
There is no doubt about it–there’s a comfort in staying in a home you’ve lived in for many years instead of moving to a totally new or unfamiliar environment. There is, however, new information that suggests this might not be the best option for everyone. The familiarity of your current home is the pro of aging in place, but the potential financial drawbacks to remodeling or renovating might actually be more costly than the long-term benefits.
A recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) titled Housing America’s Older Adults explained,
Given their high homeownership rates, most older adults live in single-family homes. Of the 24 million homeowners age 65 and over, fully 80 percent lived in detached single-family units…The majority of these homes are now at least 40 years old and therefore may present maintenance challenges for their owners.
If you’re in this spot, 40 years ago you may have had a growing family. For that reason, you probably purchased a 4-bedroom Colonial on a large piece of property in a child-friendly neighborhood. It was a great choice for your family, and you still love that home.
Today, your kids are likely grown and moved out, so you don’t need all of those bedrooms. Yard upkeep is probably very time consuming, too. You might be thinking about taking some equity out of your house and converting one of your bedrooms into a massive master bathroom, and maybe another room into an open-space reading nook. You might also be thinking about cutting back on lawn maintenance by installing a pool surrounded by beautiful paving stones.
It all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? For the short term, you may really enjoy the new upgrades, but you’ll still have to climb those stairs, pay to heat and cool a home that’s larger than what you need, and continue fixing all the things that start to go wrong with a 40-year-old home.
Last month, in their Retirement Report, Kiplinger addressed the point,
Renovations are just a part of what you need to make aging in place work for you. While it’s typically less expensive to remain in your home than to pay for assisted living, that doesn’t mean it’s a slam dunk to stay put. You’ll still have a long to-do list. Just one example: You need to plan ahead for how you will manage maintenance and care—for your home, and for yourself.
So, at some point, the time may come when you decide to sell this house anyway. That can pose a big challenge if you’ve already taken cash value out of your home and used it to do the type of remodeling we mentioned above. Realistically, you may have inadvertently lowered the value of your home by doing things like reducing the number of bedrooms. The family moving into your neighborhood is probably similar to what your family was 40 years ago. They probably have young children, need the extra bedrooms, and may be nervous about the pool.
What Our Active Adults Realty Experience Reveals
When reading this article by Keeping Current Matters, there is much we agree with, but some assumptions that we challenge. While it is true that many of us prefer to “age in place,” that does not necessarily mean we will stay in that home in which we raised our family. The idea, however, that the choices are to downsize to a smaller home or move into “senior housing” is not true for all of us. The popularity of the new Active Adult Community is growing as more Baby Boomers do retire.
It’s true that remodeling an older home to age in place is costly, but there are other options. Rather than trying to renovate an older home, our Baby Boomer clients are selling that home, relocating, and moving into a home which is new, under warranty, and in a community with amenities and social life.
Our clients may be somewhat unique since they decided not to stay in their home, in the town and state in which they raised their families, for different reasons. They moved to have a better life in Delaware.
The question in the future might be “Will they age in place in this home” or will they decide to move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community or Assisted Living facility? Only time and our health will tell.
Bill Bell, co-owner and Broker of Active Adults Realty, is also a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). Before you spend the money to remodel or renovate your current house so you can age in place, let’s get together to determine if it is truly your best option. Making a move to a smaller home in the neighborhood might make the most sense. Schedule an appointment to talk with Bill today.
Source: Keeping Current Matters, http://bit.ly/2ShtMl0