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Navigating the Ins and Outs of Senior Housing Choices

Evaluate lifestyle options

Seniors who want to live full, satisfying lives have a cornucopia of choices available these days.  Some seniors move into senior-accessible facilities, skipping the need to renovate a home and avoiding upkeep.  Some elect to find a roommate to help one another and share responsibilities, and some choose to modify a house to be more supportive.  Other seniors decide to sell their home and downsize into a more manageable space.  If you go this route, some websites help you determine an estimated home price that’s affordable to you based on your income and monthly expenses. They can also calculate how much you need to pay per month for your mortgage.  Weighing your needs and desires can help you sort through what is best in your situation.  

Think through needs

There are many reasons seniors decide to transition to different living arrangements, and identifying your needs and desires can help you determine what suits you best.  For instance, if you live far from family members, you might be at risk for becoming isolated.  Senior isolation is seen as a major health concern, often associated with declining health and a shortened life.  In this case, an independent living community or village-style arrangement could be just the ticket.  

If you’re experiencing some health concerns and could use a hand with daily tasks, yet still remain independent and on the go, an assisted living arrangement could be ideal to help you thrive.  

Seniors who decide to remain in private residences, either flying solo or with a roommate, often do best with some renovations.  Take a hard look at your home or properties you’re considering, and start thinking through changes that can make the environment safer for your golden years.

Smart solutions

Smart home technology offers seniors easy-to-implement ideas that improve comfort and independence.  For instance, if you have hearing loss, a smart doorbell can notify you through lights or vibration when you have a guest.  Those with reduced mobility can enjoy voice-controlled technology, activating things like lights without needing to move.  Virtually anyone who hopes to age in place can benefit from the freedom and confidence these little gadgets can bring.

Lighten your load

Whether you’re house hunting or modifying a home you own, there are a couple rules of thumb that can benefit seniors.  By aiming for low overall maintenance, you can reduce the amount of work and money you pour into your home.  Therefore, plan on an exterior with easy-care siding and low-maintenance landscaping.  Inside, aim for surfaces which are easy to clean, such as smooth surface flooring and low-maintenance countertops.

Examine the big picture

With aging often comes mobility concerns, as eyesight, strength, balance, and flexibility wane.  For safety’s sake, look carefully at the accessibility of your living environment.  Even if you have a home that’s comfortable now, it’s important to make changes in case you experience mobility issues in the future.  

Accessible spaces

Create a situation with one-floor living, including a bed, bath, and kitchen on the main floor - even if it means converting a den or dining room into a bedroom.  In the bathroom, consider some simple additions to help you avoid falls, such as grab bars, a taller toilet, and shower seat.  If you must manage stairs, install railings on both sides, and ensure the space is well lit.  

Outside, at least one entryway should be step-free, and consider installing a ramp if there are stairs to climb.  Paths and walkways should be smooth and well-lit, with landscaping cut back for both visibility and navigation.  

A helping hand

If you’re planning to downsize, the thought of moving your belongings can feel overwhelming.  Instead of driving a moving truck yourself, why not hire a service to do it for you?  In this case, you can just focus on the packing, and then rent a moving container to securely transport your belongings to your new home.  Another benefit of this method is that you can take your time with the unpacking at your new digs before returning the container, which will alleviate a great deal of stress.

There are several good choices available to help seniors live full, independent lives.  Sort the options in light of your circumstances, and make appropriate changes.  The future is brighter going into your golden years when you know you have a safe home environment to help you thrive.

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