According to one study in the United States more than 90% of older folks would prefer to stay in their home as they age. And this is perfectly understandable. However, fewer people actually do the research to confirm that the home can be adapted to suit or that they can afford the make the changes, maintain the home and perhaps buy in special services when required.
Here some ideas you may wish to consider:
Is the home suitable? Are you near key services for example healthcare, public transportation or shopping? What about the stairs? Is the home in a good state of repair? Can you clear the snow and do the yard work?
Bathroom. Can you still use the tub? Do you need to install a walk-in tub or shower? Can you add support rails around the tub and perhaps the toilet? Are the floors slippery? How would you call for help in the event of a fall?
Kitchen. If you lost your mobility could you successfully move around and use the kitchen? Are the counters and the stove at the right height if you were in a wheelchair? Would a wheelchair fit through the door openings? Would 2 doors in and out of the kitchen be a good idea? Would it be wise to install D handles rather than simple knobs?
Front door or access to the home. How do you get into the home now? Would keyless entry be wise? Is the door wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Some people suggest 32 inches is the required size. How would you approach the door if you lost your mobility? Would building a ramp be possible?
Communication with the outside world. In many ways, technology allows us to connect with the outside world and lock ourselves away. On the other hand, technology can be used to allow us to reach out in times of need. It’s possible to install sensors to ensure that things like your water is running, that no appliances have been left on etc. It’s also possible to purchase alarm systems that you can wear on your person in case of need. You also ‘order in’ snow removal, yard care, meals, home care and all manner of other services provided you can afford them.
Preventing falls. Any home can be a hazard. Install handrails around stairs and near floor elevation changes. Eliminate floor rugs. They move. Get rid of your clutter. Especially if it sits on the floor. Consider getting rid of smaller little used footstools. You should remain active so that your mobility remains optimal. And get your glasses checked. We don’t want you walking into walls.
Home sharing. Would you consider sharing your home with another? There are good people out there whom are less than fortunate than you. Sharing your home provides a number of benefits. You have company so less isolation. You can monitor each other from a safety perspective and it may reduce your living costs, (assuming they pay rent). Another possibility maybe to offer a place to a family member perhaps a child of yours or a sibling. There could be legal ramifications around this. Perhaps you should consult with a lawyer before you go ahead.
Resale Value. Be aware that if you make major structural changes to your home you may affect negatively its resale value. If the real market for your home is a younger family, then they will expect a discount in order to bring it back to its more ‘standard’ specification. Conversely it might just appeal to another downsizer, although chances are, they will simply amend their own home.
As inspiration for this article I referred to a wonderful book you may wish to purchase. It’s called The Best of the Rest – Downsizers for Seniors and Boomers (Senior Moves ISBN 978-0-9948631-2)
About the author:
Stuart Neal is an accredited Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®). Many of his clients are downsizers. You can read more about the author of this blog by clicking this link – Stuart Neal Broker Owner & REALTOR®
Want more information about our lower cost FLAT FEE home selling programs? Please feel free to call our broker owner Stuart Neal at: 780-760-2014 or visit our home sellers page www.FlatFeeRealtyAdvisors.ca
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