Aging in place is exactly what it sounds like: continuing to live in your own home as you age without downsizing, moving to a Life Plan community or a retirement home, or relocating to live with family. Most people prefer to stay in their homes as they age, and so many people have been already "aging in place" without knowing it. But as the types of living options for seniors have increased, people are looking at aging in place in a more proactive way.
You've built years, perhaps decades, of memories in your home and it only makes sense that you'd want to continue that as you grow older. But instead of just looking back, people are now looking ahead as well and planning for what their home needs to become in order to facilitate an easy transition into the homeowner's later years. To really age in place smoothly, two factors need to be working together, and they shouldn't come as a surprise. You and your house need to be, and continue to be, in sync.
How to Age in Place
A lot goes into running a home, as you well know. Upkeep, cleaning, organization, finances, and maintenance are not going to take care of themselves, and as we age aspects of these things can become more difficult. It's relatively simple to hire a neighborhood high schooler to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, and shovel the snow. There are plenty of services that will take care of cleaning, laundry, and even deliver your groceries. With a bit of planning, everything that needs to get done around your home will be taken care of, but you'll be managing it instead of doing all the work.
Preparing Your Home for Aging in Place
Single Floor Living
The biggest consideration for many people deciding whether or not they can age in place in their current home is whether it allows for single floor living. If all the bedrooms are upstairs, is there an office or den that can be converted into a bedroom? What about bathtubs? Showers won't always be the best option and powder rooms lack the size to be converted to a fully functional bathroom. It may seem like a major remodeling project, but consider the expense of putting a lift or an elevator in your home when the time comes.
Entrances Without Steps
This is a minor change for most homes that many don't think of until they need it. But were you or your spouse ever to need a wheelchair, either after a procedure or for a longer period of time, having entrances that are wheelchair accessible becomes highly important. And don't stop renovating at the front door; interior thresholds can often have sills that would trip up a walker or a wheelchair.
The modifications needed to make a home wheelchair accessible don't stop at the entrances, though. Many old houses here in New Hampshire have narrow hallways and door frames that need to be expanded to allow passage to a wheelchair.
Smaller modifications are also important. Two important ones are light switches and power outlets that are more easily accessible, along with lever-style door handles as opposed to knobs.
While aging in place might seem like it requires a lot of preparation, for many people the work is worth the end result. The chance to stay in your own home can outweigh the convenience, ease, and support of becoming a resident at a Life Plan community. Our At Home By Hunt program works especially well for people looking to age in place in their own homes. This Life Plan Program offers the same type of support that our Life Plan Communities offer but all in your own home.
Are you curious to learn more about what At Home By Hunt has to offer? Contact us here.
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