by Harry Cline. A little extra assistance can help seniors maintain their independence and quality of life when certain tasks start to become a little more difficult. While it isn’t easy to accept help, deciding how to receive care is a challenge of its own. Do you sell your home and move into a more accommodating place? Do you make accessibility modifications to your own home? Do you make the move into an assisted living facility? While this is an immensely personal decision, here are a few things to consider as you weigh your options.
Research Your Local Housing Market
Moving into a senior-accessible home is one way to address your changing needs. Accessible homes allow seniors to do things on their own by removing the barriers caused by limited mobility. For example, homes designed with accessibility in mind often have lever-style doorknobs and faucets, wide doorways, and zero-step entrances.
If you decide to move into an accessible home, take some time to research your local real estate market first. It’s important to have an idea of the price you can get for selling your home, as well as how much to budget for your new one. Although downsizing can offer seniors many benefits, such as reduced housework and fewer daily obstacles, smaller homes aren’t always cheaper! The price of a home depends largely on its location and other factors aside from size.
Learn How to Find Accessible Homes
According to the League, fewer than 2 percent of American homes are accessible. You may have better luck hunting for a house that is potentially modifiable than one that already exhibits accessibility features. If you’re interested in an apartment or condo, stick to newer buildings — ones built after 1991 must meet certain accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act. If you’re looking to buy a new home, limit your search to one-story homes without entrance steps. This will at least prevent you from having to install ramps or stairlifts.
Make a List of Desired Accessibility Features
Whether you’re staying in your own home or moving somewhere new, consider which accessibility modifications you need to make. Some experts recommend lowering kitchen work surfaces, installing hard flooring, and replacing bathtubs with roll-in showers to increase wheelchair accessibility. Remember to think in terms of safety as well. You may want to make some minor, low-cost modifications like installing grab bars in the bathroom or motion-sensing lights in dark hallways. Non-slip floors and rails in long hallways can also help you prevent falls. Keep in mind that accessibility modifications can cost anywhere from $100 (grab bars) to around $25,000 (a full kitchen remodel).
Go Over the Pros and Cons of Assisted Living
Of course, you also have the option to scrap the idea of aging in place and move into an assisted living facility instead. Assisted living communities give seniors as much independence and autonomy as possible while providing help with various daily tasks, from cleaning to dressing. These communities also give seniors access to regular socialization opportunities.
However, some seniors can have trouble adjusting to life in an assisted living community, especially if they prefer to remain in their own homes. The cost can be another drawback. Receiving care in these facilities tends to be on the expensive side. So, consider your options for funding assisted living — you can pay out of pocket, ask your family for support, apply for Medicaid, or seek out nonprofits that provide financial assistance to seniors.
Deciding where to live and how to receive care as a senior can be extremely challenging. With so many factors to consider, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. If possible, take it slowly and give yourself plenty of time to thoroughly explore your options.
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