More than 90 percent of older adults prefer to age in place rather than move to senior housing, per the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC).
The number isn’t surprising; no one wants to let go of familiar surroundings. But what exactly is aging in place, and does it help or hurt you financially?
What is Aging in Place?
Simply put, aging in place means you make modifications to your current home, so it is safer and more accessible as you age. Some of the more common modifications are widening doorways, installing grab bars, no-step entrances, non-slip flooring, and adjusting the heights of everyday features like toilets and shelving. Aging in place makes it more possible for you to live where you are most comfortable, even as your health changes over time.
Is Aging in Place Financially Responsible?
Any time you make modifications to your home, it is going to cost you money. The amount will depend on how many and what type of changes you make. Some people decide to downsize their home rather than adapt it, which can help you avoid the cost of modifications as well as maintaining your current home.
Of course, there are many factors that go into selling a home and buying a new one. Can you sell your home for the right price? Will you need to spend money to update your current home before you sell it? What kind of loan will you need for a new home? You have to consider all angles before deciding if aging in place is right for you.
Another consideration is senior housing. While the costs to live in senior communities can be high, you will need to look at whether it makes more financial sense to live there or spend the money to modify your home instead.
If you are close to retirement, then you may want to factor in the costs of aging in place with your retirement budget. If you are already retired but are considering modifications to your current home, it can be helpful to speak with your financial advisor about how it affects your overall plans.