For some seniors, the idea of living in a community with other older residents is very appealing. They like the idea of group activities, having help available if they need it, and giving up responsibility for yard work and home maintenance. Other seniors, however, are determined to stay in their own homes. Some of them find comfort in familiar surroundings, and others cherish their privacy and independence. Whatever the reason, it’s important to think about the possibility of aging in place from several angles to make sure it is really the best option for you or your loved one.
Questions to Consider When Choosing to Age in Place
Sometimes people stay in their homes simply by default. They haven’t planned ahead, and when they become ill or incapacitated, it’s up to a family member to make a decision about a nursing home or assisted living facility. By thinking ahead about the following factors, you can make a better choice for your future:
- Cost. You may assume you would save money by staying in a home that’s paid off, but you should also consider taxes, utilities, lawn care, and home maintenance costs. In addition, you may eventually have to pay for in-home care, grocery delivery, food preparation, and other necessary services. Comparing these costs to the inclusive monthly fee of senior housing is an important first step.
- Safety. Is your home free of tripping hazards? Can you live on one level and avoid stairs if it becomes necessary? Can you make your bathroom handicap accessible? Will you be able to maintain a proper diet and stay physically active if you are alone? Often, senior living facilities far exceed private homes for these kinds of safety considerations.
- Social isolation. Some people want to stay in their homes because they have lifelong friends and family nearby. They may have neighbors who check in on them and host weekly card games. For others, living at home means being isolated from social interaction. If staying in your home means being alone, you risk depression and reduced quality of life. You may also be more susceptible to elder abuse.
Talking to your family, a real estate agent who specifically works with the elderly, and an estate planning attorney well before you need assistance for basic daily tasks is a smart move. Together, you can plan for the best living arrangement as you age.
Start With a Call to Ross & Shoalmire, LLP
As part of our Elder Law practice, we offer information and advice about residential options for seniors, including staying in their own homes. In addition to helping with other important estate planning tasks, our team helps senior clients make decisions about aging in place. Fill out the form on this page to contact us today.