About 9 out of 10 people over age 50 want to stay in their homes and age in place, according to a 2022 survey conducted by the University of Michigan. However, to age safely in place, older adults need a plan for their physical environment, social needs, and finances.
Family homes built for several children may be too large for a couple or single adult. Another choice may be welcoming family back to live with you. During the 2020 pandemic, over 3 million adult children moved in with older relatives.
Whether you stay in the same home or make a move to age in place, it’s important to talk with family and trusted advisors if you’re getting older and want to live safely and comfortably at home.
Have Conversations And Make Plans For Aging in Place
The first conversation to have with trusted loved ones and advisors is “What do I want to do, and why?” Here are some questions to ask and answer:
- Is our home too difficult to maintain or too large?
- Are home costs too high?
- Do you want to be closer to family?
- Are you lonely?
- Do you need to be closer to medical or other services?
- Have friends and neighbors died or moved?
If it’s time to move to a smaller place that’s nearer to family or medical care, it’s also important to consider your belongings.
What’s precious and what can be sold, donated, or left behind? A 2020 study showed that the average American home had over 300,000 items, and the average size of home has nearly tripled since the 1970s.
Storage Facilities vs. Downsizing
Everyone may be able to downsize a little, but many people aren’t making that choice. The U.S. has over 50,000 storage facilities: five times more than Starbucks! Even if you will not be downsizing, it may be time to get help to go through boxes in the garage, excess items in the kitchen, and unusable goods in the pantry.
Home Equity And Downsizing
Many people are able to use the equity in their home to pay for renovations that will make it safer for them to age in place. Another alternative is to sell a larger home and move to a smaller one.
None of the choices about where to live and how to live as we grow older are easy. However, if you begin to talk about your needs and desires before a health emergency or other crisis, you can form a plan and follow through. Working with professionals like California Platinum Realty and California Platinum Loans can help you to preserve your assets and move through the steps you need to do to determine how you can best age in place.
Becker, Joshua. “21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own,” Becomingminimalist, url: https://www.becomingminimalist.com/clutter-stats
Dennis, Helen. “Successful Aging: Have a downsizing conversation even if you plan to stay in your home,” Los Angeles Daily News, 11 December 2022, url: https://www.dailynews.com/2022/12/11/successful-aging-have-a-downsizing-conversation-even-if-you-plan-to-stay-in-your-home/