Life brings surprises; no matter how carefully we plan, the chances are good that life will interfere. Nowhere is this truer than when preparing for aging and retirement. But uncertainty needn’t stop us from defining what we want and making goals to get there.
When you’re planning your retirement, one crucial question to consider is where you want to live. You may have initially thought the home you bought for your family was your “forever” home, but with retirement on the horizon, you’re beginning to see your priorities have shifted. The features you want and need in your home are different today than years ago, and even more, changes lie ahead.
What factors should retirees consider when deciding where they want to live?
Your abilities will change as you age; in fact, they may have already changed. Even healthy seniors are at a greater risk of falling, experiencing vision challenges, and are likely to experience fatigue going up and down stairs multiple times a day. These issues and others need to be considered when planning a home for retirement. Single-level homes without stairs are a popular choice, but so are mobility solutions such as elevators, stairlifts, and ramps.
Another important factor to consider is accommodations for mobility devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. Homes with wide doorways and halls and a few thresholds are ideal, but your current home can also be modified to make way for whatever might be in your future. And don’t forget about the garage; you’ll want to take your scooter or wheelchair with you, so it’s worth considering if your garage is big enough for a vehicle equipped with a lift. Wheelchair and scooter lifts for SUVs come in a variety of configurations so that you can take your car, your garage, and your lifestyle into consideration to get just what you need.
Severe weather is harder for older folks to manage. Shoveling snow is physically demanding and dangerous for seniors, but so is extreme heat. Even rainy climates can be hard on seniors since creaky joints and poor balance make a “dash” from the car to the shops through the rain more like a long, soaking trod. For that and other reasons, many seniors find they avoid going out in bad weather, leading to depression and other mental and emotional challenges. With all that in mind, it’s not hard to understand why so many folks choose a “snowbird” lifestyle.
Another factor that’s important to many seniors is location. Retiring in a home close to family, church, hobbies, healthcare, and other necessities make life so much easier. You’ll also want to consider your access to hospitals and emergency care.
The Final Word
These are just a few of the things folks consider when choosing a home for their retirement years. Any way about it, it’s a big choice, but with careful planning, many seniors can live comfortably at home.