The popular ranch house with a sunken living room was all the rage in the early 1970’s, partly because of the Brady Bunch. That home style, however open as it is, isn’t a practical layout for aging in place.
Many of us consider our homes to be our greatest asset and, in some cases, even our retirement. But can we live there as we age, or will we need to sell and relocate?
“When assessing your current living environment, you need to examine all the major areas of your home, including entry ways, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen, even the backyard. In all these areas, proper lighting is absolutely critical if you wish to avoid accidents.” AgeInPlace.org
Your home can be used as an asset to sell or perhaps rent out if you can’t age in place. But is that your optimal solution? When speaking with your financial advisor about retirement, be sure to also talk to a Realtor or home inspector as well.
If you can’t live at home as you age, where will you live? As we discussed in our last article, “aging in place is a term that we’ve adopted to mean that, as we grow older, we remain in our existing homes instead of moving to assisted living or a nursing home.”
This is important when we consider the quality of life we want for ourselves, our privacy, and comfort level. It’s also something our financial advisor will ask when preparing for retirement.
A general contractor who specializes in aging in place or commercial ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) code is your best source for information. Start with the facts. What areas in your home are affected? How much will those repairs cost?
ADA affects commercial properties but not necessarily residential ones. Do you have a 60” turnaround in your bathroom? This is important if you or your spouse needs to use a wheelchair -- even temporarily. Are the counters at the right height? Is there clearance under the cabinets?
Where is the master bedroom? Are the hallways wide enough for a wheelchair? Do the lights switches make it easy to turn on and off? Are closets accessible and do you have enough lighting?
Once you get an inspection and estimate, you’ll be able to plan to age in place in a way that won’t break the bank.