According to data, 77% of adults over the age of 49 want to stay in their homes as they grow older. If you are looking for a home to purchase as an older adult, it is important to consider how suitable that home is for aging in place.
1. The Price
Before you begin looking at homes, it is important to determine exactly how much you can realistically afford to spend. Factors to consider include your income and expenses, how much you have saved for a down payment, and the cost of financing.
If you are working now, but anticipate retiring soon, take into account how your expenses and income may change. You can get a rough estimate by using an online affordability calculator to determine your monthly mortgage payment at different price points, down payments, and other factors.
2. Maintenance Costs
The initial purchase price isn’t the only cost of buying a home. You must also repair and replace broken and worn systems and appliances. You can reduce the unpredictability of this expense by purchasing a home warranty that covers the cost of repairing systems and appliances. So will a warranty pay for itself? Before you decide whether you need a warranty, review the home inspection report for any red flags and find out if there is any remaining warranty on the appliances in the home and what that warranty covers.
3. Access to Services
As you get older, it may become more important to live near your doctor or a hospital that can provide the type of medical care you need. You may also need access to home health services. Explore what type of transportation and other senior services are offered in the area.
4. Safety Features
Fall risk is a major concern for many older people. Changes in eyesight, side effects from medication and balance issues can make seniors more likely to fall. You can reduce your risk by choosing a home that has fewer hazards and more safety features.
For example, it is best to avoid a home with dim light fixtures and few windows. Dark homes can make it difficult to see obstacles that could cause a fall. Safety features, such as bar grips and handrails, can reduce the risk of a fall on slippery surfaces, such as bathtubs or bathroom floors. Elevated toilets can also reduce slip and fall accidents in the bathroom. Avoid homes with slippery flooring and instead, look for slip-resistant tile or vinyl.
5. Accessibility Features
Many seniors have mobility issues, use assistive devices or wheelchairs, and have difficulty with reaching, bending, or gripping. It can be expensive to modify an inaccessible home to accommodate changing accessibility needs. Choose a home with wide doorways and hallways that can accommodate a wheelchair, walker, or mobility scooter.
Look for easy-to-grip door knobs. People with arthritic hands and other medical conditions may have difficulty turning knob-operated doors. Lever-operated doors can be easier to grip. Consider choosing a home that is on one level, rather than a home with stairs that you may have difficulty navigating.
Choosing a home that is well-suited to aging in place can increase your chances of remaining in your home as you get older. Taking steps, such as considering purchasing a home warranty, can make purchasing an accessible home more affordable.
For more senior resources, visit SCAS today.