Updated: Nov 14, 2018
Your house is often your biggest and most prized asset.
You spend most of your time here, building memories, collecting experiences and mementos. Couple this ideal with the cost and complication of finding and paying for residential care, it’s no wonder that when AARP conducted a study, 71% of adults between 50-64 were leaning towards aging in place (87% over 65 were planning to age in place). *
It’s time to talk about the realities of this...
1. It's not all going to be about you.
This is the biggest thing to consider. As you age you will need someone helping and caring for you. Will your partner be able to do this? Do you have anyone to rely on in the area? Maybe your kids live too far away, and they end up constantly sick with worry.
Technology is creating new and innovative ideas to release some of the burden and concern, but it’s quite often this stuff that emotionally unravels families. The kids have trouble telling you they are scared for your safety, or one child takes on all the responsibility and resentment unfolds.
Have a family meeting and plan for the various levels of care you are going to need now and in the future.
2. The level of help will vary.
It’s going to start out simple, and for the most part manageable. It might start out with hiring a landscaper, or someone to shovel the driveway. Then it advances to not being able to reach a certain light bulb and change it without throwing out your back or dining out 24/7 because the concept of cooking is exhausting. Then, maybe you reach the point where driving feels a bit uncomfortable.
It happens in phases. In each phase you are going to have to admit to yourself that you need the help- which can be part of the problem. Identifying this stuff beforehand, lining up your options and letting the ego aside may possibly prevent figuring it out the hard way. Know the types of care you will need as you age in place.
3. The level of cost will vary.
There are some things you can’t determine- like the actual level of care you will end up needing. However, there are some things that you can plan for, like the amount of money it will cost to make your home fit your aging needs.
Either way, you need to plan with the contingency that you may possibly need the highest level of care. Otherwise, well you are out of luck. You won’t get the things you need, you won’t be comfortable.
Incorporating your vision to age at home is vital to your financial planning strategy… even if you’ve purchased a long-term care policy- do you understand what this covers? Does it have home health?
4. You can’t let the plan be made for you.
Meaning- things are going to need to be done, and decisions will need to be made even if you aren’t making them. Failure to plan is the equivalent of turning over your plans to your family, or the government.
Know all the things you must consider when it comes to aging in place. Home health providers, services, care options. Make an informed decision that suits you, instead of, well- doing nothing. You don’t want to THINK you want to age in place, only to find out the living situation you WOULD have preferred is now unaffordable.
Housing and care for later in life is CONFUSING. Especially if you are new to it, and haven’t ever had to make these choices for a loved one. Even if you are familiar, there are huge differences among the same type of facility, and no one care manager is the same. Visit our planning for housing seminar and resources to learn how to navigate this, and plan with purpose for your family.
*Source: AARP PPI, "What is Livable? Community Preferences of Older Adults," April 2014 (most recent study)