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Aging in Place: Preparing Your Home and Your Lifestyle for Your Later Years

According to a recent survey by AARP, an overwhelming majority (77%) of adults 50 and over say they would prefer to remain in their own homes in their later years, rather than moving to some sort of assisted living center. It’s not hard to understand why.

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What issues should i consider before i retire?

According to a recent survey by AARP, an overwhelming majority (77%) of adults 50 and over say they would prefer to remain in their own homes in their later years, rather than move to some sort of assisted living center. It’s not hard to understand why. After all, these are people who have spent decades raising their families, developing friendships, and becoming valuable members of their communities. Their homes are where their personal histories reside, and the thought of no longer living in the place that is most comfortable for them is difficult to handle.

On the other hand, as the years go by, stairs get harder to climb, mowing the lawn and maintaining the home’s exterior become more fatiguing, and often, keeping basic groceries on hand becomes more burdensome. In other words, for those in the later years of retirement—or those who are dealing with health difficulties—it can become more difficult to stay in their homes and still take good care of themselves.

But with some careful planning, aging in place can still be a valid option. It’s particularly important to consider the financial implications of aging in place as you develop your retirement financial plan.

Mobility. If climbing the stairs to the master suite is or could become problematic, you may need to budget for a remodel to accommodate more downstairs living space. A bathroom may require installation of a walk-in tub. Narrow doorways may need to be widened to facilitate the use of a walker or wheelchair. In some cases, you may even want to move to a different dwelling that is easier for you to live in.

Help around the house. Once-satisfying chores like mowing and edging the lawn, maintaining the landscaping, and even simple household repairs may become too much to handle when the homeowner reaches their 80s or 90s. A realistic financial plan should include a budget for the services of a reliable yard service or handyman.

Meals. Especially for older persons who have lost a spouse, preparing meals for one can seem like too much trouble. Unfortunately, this often leads to malnutrition and other health problems. Many options exist for local delivery of groceries or even ready-to-eat meals, sometimes at a cost that doesn’t add too much to the food budget.

Healthcare. Most persons who live into their 80s, 90s, or beyond will require one or more medications that need to be taken regularly in order to maintain good health. Studies show, in fact, that those who are erratic or who periodically forget to take their medications are 30–40% more likely to experience a flare-up in their conditions. But as we age, we can become more easily confused about what we’ve taken and what we haven’t. Some home healthcare agencies offer a medication assistance program; a medical professional comes to your home to help you keep your medications organized and to make sure you’re following the program prescribed by your doctor. For those with health difficulties that make it difficult or impossible for them to take care of basic personal hygiene (difficulty bathing, using the toilet, getting up and down from sitting or lying, or feeding themselves), more comprehensive home health services are available. Depending on the type of care needed, these services can cost several thousand dollars per month, and certain types of care are not covered by Medicare. So, if you believe you will need home health care in order to remain in your own home as you age, your retirement financial plan should include these costs. You may even wish to consider the purchase of long-term care insurance as a way of funding some of these expenses.

Good financial planning and budgeting can make it possible for you to age in place if that is what you prefer to do. But there are many things to consider, since, if we live long enough, we will need more and more help with tasks and needs that we used to be able to handle on our own. At Milestone Money, we provide fiduciary guidance and advice that can enable you to make the most informed decisions possible about your retirement lifestyle. To learn more, visit our website for more retirement planning insights.

What issues should i consider before i retire?

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Life is full of financial milestones. We pay for college, we get married, we start businesses. But the most important financial decision we will ever make is when and how to retire. Milestone Money helps you map success to and through retirement.

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