Homebuying for Seniors
We are excited to share a very special guest blog with you today. Jim Vogel started ElderAction.org as a means to provide resources to adult children and caregivers who are caring for senior parents. He is passionate about spreading awareness to improve senior living.
Getting Ready to Buy a New Home as a Senior- by Jim Vogel
The key to making the best choice for your new home is to ensure it aligns with your lifestyle, health, and financial needs. Whether you choose to move into a retirement community, buy a house in the suburbs, or rent a condo, you need to make the choice that’s best for your unique situation and needs. Once you’ve prepared yourself, you’ll be ready to confidently make a decision and move to your new home.
Assess Your Needs
First, assess the level of care you will need, suggests Healthguide.org. Although you might be independent today, that can change in the future. In fact, according to DoSomething.org, four in five older adults will have at least one chronic illness – such as heart disorders, arthritis, or osteoporosis – and 50 percent will battle at least two of those illnesses.
Next, consider what you’ll need as far as the location. DoSomething.org notes that people more than 75 years old visit the doctor three times more often than people 22 to 44 years old. Given this statistic, you may want to be close to medical facilities or at least have public transportation options. Being close to shopping and other hobbies is important too.
Consider the accessibility of your new home. Look for a home that can be easily modified. A home with a lot of steps or a steep hill can be difficult to modify. Social support is also an important aspect in a new home. Think about how far you’re willing to be from family and friends. “If it becomes difficult or impossible for you to leave your home, you’ll become isolated and depression can rapidly set in,” states Healthguide.org.
Lastly, weigh your finances. Weigh the pros and cons of each housing options available to you. Make a budget and stick to it. MoneyTips states that your lifestyle, retirement plans, assets, and health will determine whether or not you should start a new mortgage as a senior. When considering moving, first speak with an accountant and a financial adviser. You should also seek guidance from a mortgage professional and a tax advisor.
Options for Homes
Your first option is looking for a house that will allow you to age in place. This can mean the home already has age modifications or that the house can be easily modified. These home repairs will make your life easier and safer, and include installing a wheelchair ramp, bathtub railings, or an emergency response system. Also, make sure that the maintenance of your home and yard won’t be overwhelming.
You may also consider finding a home that falls within the geographical confines of an integrated community, such as a “village” or a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC). Both options allow seniors to live in their own homes, but have access to specialized programs and services, such as home health care, transportation to the grocery store, or help with household chores.
Retirement communities, also called independent living communities, are housing arrangements designed specifically for seniors. The neighborhoods are more compact, easier to navigate, and include outside maintenance. They often feature recreational centers or clubhouses to promote physical activity and socialization. Lastly, you may consider moving to an apartment or condo outside of a retirement community. They offer many of the same features, but you won’t be surrounded exclusively by other seniors.
Making the Move
Once you’re ready for the move, don’t risk injuring yourself. Enlist the help of professional movers to reduce the risk to your home or yourself. No matter which home you choose to move to, consider an area with access to transportation, services, and social networks. This way, you’ll be happy and safe in your new home.
Thanks, Jim, for the helpful advice! If you are thinking about making a move in this next stage of life, our team would love to serve you. Give us a call today.
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