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What Does It Mean to Age in Place?


Today’s retirement communities and assisted living facilities have many modern amenities, but nothing beats home sweet home. If you don’t want to leave your home when you get older, you may not have to if you plan to age in place. From finances to a housing redesign, it’s possible to create a home that provides you with the surroundings and help you may need.

What Is Aging in Place?

Aging in place is a relatively new concept, but it’s easy to comprehend. It means that seniors design their lives to stay in their homes for as long as they are physically able instead of moving to a senior living facility.

According to a survey by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 77% of Americans age 50 or older want to stay in their own home for as long as possible, even if they will need assistance.

Benefits of Aging in Place

There can be many financial and health benefits to staying where you are. Aging in place can provide you with a sense of independence and autonomy over your care. You can choose your healthcare providers and services instead of relying on the retirement home’s team of caregivers.

Aging in place also lets you stay in a familiar place and neighborhood, which can be reassuring. There are financial benefits as well. The cost of home care can be lower than the monthly costs of an assisted living or specialized nursing facility.

How to Prepare Your Home to Age in Place

To age in place, it’s important to have a plan. Start by talking to your family and friends who may need to be involved in providing help, such as driving you to doctor’s appointments. You can also check into resources available to members of your community, which may include services such as free rides to stores or senior support groups.

Talk to your doctor, as well. If you have chronic health issues, you’ll want to know if aging in place is possible. Your physician may also be able to refer you to a geriatric care manager who can help if your family lives out of the area.

An important part of aging in place is determining how you’ll pay for the services you need. While some services may be covered by Medicare or your health insurance, others may not, and you will have to pay out of pocket. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute on Aging suggests visiting BenefitsCheckUp to help you discover programs in your area.

If you don’t have enough money saved to cover the potential costs, part of your financial plan could include a reverse mortgage, creating a revenue stream to supplement your other retirement income, such as Social Security. Consider working with an independent financial planner to help ensure you’re making the best choices for your retirement.

Modifying Your Home to Age in Place

Staying in your home may require some modifications to your house to make it safe and comfortable. For example, consider these upgrades:

  • Ramps
  • Handrails
  • Accessible shelving
  • Widened doorways
  • Furniture with lifts to help getting in and out of chairs
  • Accessible bathtubs and showers
  • Smooth flooring

And smart home technology, such as smart stoves that automatically shut off or voice-controlled lights, can make aging in place more convenient. Smart home technology can also send alerts to caregivers if you haven’t moved around the home for a long period of time, which could be due to a fall.

Remaining in your home is a great goal, and success will depend on making the proper preparations. With financial planning and a strong support network, it’s possible to age in place and enjoy your retirement on your terms.

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