Aging at Home

A 2015 AARP survey found nearly 90% of people age 65 plan or desire to live in and age in place at home as long as possible.

This is very understandable as so many people feel home is where they are most familiar and comfortable.

But staying there is not always easy or feasible as we age. Below are several determinations that when made can help extend someone’s time in their home and help determine when it may be time to leave for a more suitable living situation.

One of the most important considerations when aging at home is the suitability of the house itself.

As people age their bodies change, vision becomes reduced, joints become painful, and smaller injuries become more severe. Simple changes such adding handrails to staircases, removing area rugs or other tripping hazards, and adding motion detecting lights can help address some of these problems.

The next consideration should be the support system.

While finances are important, it really does not matter if a person can afford to live in their home if their age prevents them from doing so. It is important to determine if an aging loved one can still care for themselves or to what degree they need assistance. This can be anything from stopping by once a week to help cook meals and clean to hiring a live in nurse. This decision depends on the situation and what everyone is comfortable with.

It is however crucial not to disregard the social aspect of our lives. It is great to care for someone’s physical and financial wellbeing, but one of the main problems America’s senior population face is social isolation leading to depression. The presence of friends still living nearby or proximity to a favorite activity should therefore not be disregarded during these deliberations.

Finally, it may not always make financial sense to remain living in your own home.

An honest assessment of the costs and benefits of staying at home evaluates not only obvious expenditures such as rent or mortgage payments, but the price of things such as the modifications to your home or extra help mentioned above. While some may be hesitant to incur the expenses of moving, it sometimes can be more costly to age in place.

These situations are very fluid and involve a multitude of interrelated factors.

It is therefore wise to re-evaluate these factors and the decision about staying at home or moving every few years. Not every person will need to move to a senior apartment complex or hire help to care for their home as they age, but sometimes leaving a family home can be for the best.

Your plan to age at home or elsewhere is something we consider when working with our clients in the matters of Elder Law, Estate Planning, Medical Assistance (Medicaid), Guardianship, Asset Preservation and Fiduciary Representation.

Contact Abraham & Bauer for help creating a plan to age at home or with any other estate planning needs.

Planning ahead is a gift to your loved ones!