In a departure from the norm, today I have a guest blogger, Jim Vogel, who wrote a great piece about aging in place. Many times Seniors want to stay in their home without moving, and it's great to help them do that when it's feasible. Other times, a move is better for them.
Read Jim's article and then check out his site, www.elderaction.org You'll find a great deal of information that can help us work better with our Seniors.
Aging in Place: Tips For Seniors Who Are Looking To Buy A New Home
Buying a new home is a major life decision, but for some seniors, it’s a necessary one. Around retirement age, many seniors begin thinking about whether they want to stay in their home, downsize, or move into a retirement community. Some of the major factors that go into that decision include how to stay safe and healthy, and sometimes the current home just doesn’t have all the accommodations that some seniors need. For instance, a home with a lot of stairs or a large lawn to take care of might not be the easiest choice for a certain age, especially if there are health issues involved.
If you’re a senior who is thinking about making a move, there are several things to consider, such as financing, how best to downsize for aging in place, and how to find help on moving day. Being prepared and having a plan will help enormously when it’s time for this major change, as will asking for support from friends and family.
Here are some of the best ways to get started.
Moving is never an easy job, especially if you’re downsizing, so garner support from friends and family who can help you go through your belongings, pack them up easily, and assist with the big day. This is especially important if you have things you want to give to children or grandchildren, as they can take things off your hands before you start packing up each room. Invite a few people over, order a pizza, and make it a fun night that everyone can enjoy.
Moving is a big job, especially if you’ve lived in the same house for many years, so it’s imperative to get organized before you make any major decisions. Start in one room and clean it out from top to bottom; go through closets, drawers, and cabinets and make a pile for things you want to keep, a pile for things you want to donate, and another for things you might be able to sell. Bag or box these items for easy removal and to keep clutter up off the floor, which can be a trip hazard, and mark them well so they don’t get mixed together.
Look at all your options
Depending on what state you live in, you may qualify for housing assistance or special financing. These programs are available to seniors, people with disabilities, and individuals in a certain income bracket, and their availability may depend on how early you apply, so check online to see what the policies are for your state.
Think about how to age in place
There are many considerations to make when buying a home in your senior years, including how to find the right place for your needs. If you have a health condition that requires certain accommodations--such as a wheelchair--you’ll need to take that into account when you’re looking for a new place. Let your real estate agent know exactly what your needs are. You may want to make sure your new home has a smaller lawn, or only has one story so you won’t have to worry about climbing stairs everyday.
Location is also a consideration; start your search in neighborhoods that are close to your family, your doctor, the grocery store. It’s a good idea to stay close to the places you visit most often, in part so you won’t feel isolated.
Find the right movers
Finding the right people to help on your big day is important. Do some research to find a moving company that will work with your schedule, and ask about their fees for moving large items such as a piano. Remember that most moving companies charge per hour as well as per mile, and those fees can add up. It’s best to be prepared for their arrival--with everything boxed up and ready to go--so there are no holdups.
Buying a home during your senior years comes with a lot to think about, but it can be a very smart move to think about the future and how you can make it as simple as possible. Make a list of all the things you want in a home and do some research on neighborhoods and price ranges. Having a plan is the best way to get started.