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How to Find the Perfect Home for Your Golden Years
Looking for a new home in your senior years requires careful consideration for your current and future needs. If your goal is to age-in-place like 90% of homeowners approaching retirement, it's important that the home that you choose will be able to support your changing physical and mental needs over time. Here are some essential features to look out for as you search for the perfect place to spend your golden years.
Consider Assisted Living
Before you start house-hunting, consider an alternative living situation. Assisted living might be the best option if you or your partner could use some extra help with your daily living tasks. In addition to easy access to healthcare, moving into an assisted living community will eliminate the need for home maintenance, household chores, and cooking. Plus, you’ll have access to preventive wellness programs and mentally-beneficial opportunities for social interaction.
Looking for the right assisted living facility is a lot like searching for a new house. It’s important to find a place that will meet your care needs, but also allow you to feel comfortable and at home.
Use online guides and search tools to discover potential options in your area and find out what you can expect in terms of amenities, living arrangements, and budget. For example, A Place for Mom reports that assisted living facilities in Florida typically cost about $42,000 per year. There are dozens of options out there, so do a little window shopping to narrow the field, then visit to find the perfect fit.
If you prefer to age-in-place, start looking for homes that will accommodate any modifications you may need to make over the years. According to CityLab, only 1% of housing is equipped with all of the features necessary to support aging-in-place, including lever-style door handles, zero-step entrances, and wide doorways.
Since it will be hard to find a home that already has all of the features you’re looking for, search for places that you can modify as needed. Some home modifications you may want to consider for the future include non-slip flooring, grab bars, lever-style faucets, and ramps. You may also have to widen the doorways on your new home to make room for a wheelchair. Homeowners who decide to go this route typically pay an average of $10,000 for modifications.
Downsizing into a smaller, single-story home might be a great way to simplify your life and prepare for any future mobility problems. According to MoneyTalksNews, smaller homes tend to be more accessible because they are often only one story, eliminating the need to climb stairs every day. Downsizing will also help you cut out unnecessary yard work, maintenance, and household clutter—all of which can contribute to stress during your senior years.
Try to look for homes with large windows that let in plenty of natural light. As we age, we tend to need more light for reading and other daily tasks, so a house full of light can be a big help. Plenty of bright, natural light will also help you maintain a positive mood during dark winter days, especially if there comes a time when you can no longer go outside as often as you’d like.
Inviting Outdoor Spaces
If you love the outdoors, look for a home with an accessible outdoor living area such as a wraparound porch or a covered patio. An outdoor space will help connect you with the rest of your neighborhood, fostering socialization and staving off loneliness.
You can also use your outdoor space for all kinds of hobbies, including container gardening, reading, knitting, and birdwatching, which can provide stress-relief, mental stimulation, and a sense of accomplishment in your post-retirement years.
Keep these tips in mind as you rethink housing for your golden years. While it’s important to look for accessibility features, like zero-step entrances and large bathrooms, remember to keep an eye out for your personal wishes as well—such as a small backyard for gardening or a bright room for your hobbies. The right abode will allow you to live comfortably and safely, so take the time to find the perfect fit.