Five Tips for Seniors to Find the Best Living Arrangement

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Once we’re retired, we have countless options available to us that we never had before. This is your time to do the things you’ve always wanted, whether that’s traveling or growing a lush garden. And yet, part of that means planning on how you want to age in your community.

Look for Roommates

It may seem novel to some, but there is no reason not to consider moving in with a friend or loved one during your senior years. In fact, cohabitation offers some unique benefits, particularly if you choose someone you already feel close to. Not only can you split the financial burden of ownership, but socializing will also be much easier, as you’ll have someone nearby whenever needed. Of course, there may be some initial growing pains with this arrangement, but that can be avoided by establishing rules and norms for the household from the get-go. These rules could include things like a cleaning schedule, bill-splitting policies, and, most importantly, personal space boundaries so no one feels smothered.

Find Your Community

However, don’t think that you’re limited to roommates if you want to feel supported by a community. Truth be told, it’s never been easier to live in an environment where you can socialize, get medical assistance, and still maintain your own space. If this sounds appealing, consider the village-to-village model. To put it simply, a village consists of a neighborhood where you and other seniors buy homes together. Often, a board is formed to take fees and provide services, such as gardening, hospital visits, or weekly nurse checks. Through this system, you gain opportunities to socialize and have comfort knowing that things will be cared for. You can engage and socialize even further with your community via lifelong learning classes offered through the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield. Classes are offered at various times throughout the day, making it easy to fit into your schedule, and are disability accessible as well as accommodating to various physical needs.

Downsize

If you want secure boundaries around your personal space, or you would prefer being nearer to family or friends, you should consider downsizing. With this option, you have greater freedom since you can choose any location, whether that’s somewhere close to family or a beach along the coast. However, you must ensure the process doesn’t become a stressful experience for you. In particular, you could make the move easier by selling off goods. Alternatively, you could donate them and keep only what you love and need. Downsizing can be a shrewd way to conserve money, as lower utilities and maintenance bills allow your retirement fund to grow.

Know Your Market

If you decide to sell, you must research the housing market, both in your current area and wherever you hope to move. For instance, according to Redfin, if you’re selling a home in Chesterfield, you can expect the median price to be approximately $375,000. By knowing your potential profit, you will have great success when house hunting. After all, this is not the time to get bogged down with a mortgage on an expensive property, especially if you are on a fixed income. Instead, look for something in your price range so you’ll have more financial flexibility.

Modify Your Current Home

Of course, that doesn’t matter if you choose to stay where you live since you have to focus on comfort for the years ahead. While you may know the basics of accessibility, such as ramps or grab bars, you must also consider safety in general, such as lowering your boiler’s water temperature. To prevent burns, your water should never exceed 120 degrees, which not only saves your skin but could reduce your energy bill. Elsewhere, consider non-slip flooring, a grip mat placed in the shower itself, and other safety features. Your safety doesn’t stop there, however, so look around your home to decide where changes could make things less dangerous. Of course, you need to take the cost of these modifications into consideration when putting together your budget. You could easily pay between $220 and $50,000 depending on the size and scope of the project you’re considering.

To truly be able to enjoy your golden years, you’ll want a home that suits all of your needs. That means researching your local housing market, but also doing some self-reflection. After all, you have to know which option will be best for you in particular.

Image courtesy of Pexels

Hazel Bridges

hazel@agingwellness.org 

AgingWellness.org