As the population continues to age, an increasing number of retirees are opting to stay in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of their own homes for a longer period of time during their later years.
Ageing in place, as it is commonly known, is an important concept for many seniors who want to maintain their independence, control, and dignity as they age. There are many benefits to aging in place, including the ability to maintain social connections, familiarity with the neighbourhood, and the ability to receive care and support from family and friends.
Despite being a favourable option, ageing in place comes with its own unique set of financial challenges. From home modifications to healthcare costs, there are many factors to consider, which is why it is important to plan ahead and implement strategies to make it more financially feasible.
As retirees prepare to age in place, there are several important factors to consider. First and foremost, it is crucial to assess the safety and accessibility of the home, including any potential hazards or obstacles that may need to be addressed. This can include modifications such as grab bars in the bathroom, wheelchair ramps, or wider doorways to accommodate mobility aids.
It is also important to consider the availability of social support networks, access to healthcare, and transportation options. In addition, retirees should plan for any potential changes in their financial situation, including healthcare costs and long-term care expenses.
Financial Adviser Andrew Nicolaou from 360 Financial Strategists suggests that when it comes to the financial aspect of ageing in place, retirees should “look at downsizing the home or making renovations so that it is appropriate for when stairs may be an issue”.
“Cost of care & medication is also a big consideration. All of these things can add financial stress and anxiety in what should be a positive time,” Nicolaou says.
Nicolaou also highlights that “having a fixed level of income in an environment (particularly now) where the cost of living is increasing puts pressure on the budgets of retirees.”
“Some retirees are also entering these years with mortgages and debt and cannot financially afford to stay in the same home on their retirement income,” Nicolaou says.
“Additionally, travel and doing the things that you have put off doing whilst working is usually at its peak in the earlier years of retirement – make sure that this is accounted for in your retirement plan.”
Although the financial and organisational factors of preparing to age in place are important considerations, retirees hoping to age in place should also consider the following:
By taking these factors into account, retirees can ensure that they are prepared to age in place and maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible.
In addition to taking into consideration several lifestyle and financial factors, retirees can implement a number of practical measures to ensure the process of ageing in place is as smooth as possible and they are successful in their approach.
Seeking out professional advice and extending one’s work life by a few years can provide over 60s with an additional opportunity to establish some financial reserves for their golden years.
Nicolaou suggests that retirees “plan ahead as much as possible and account for the unexpected (it’s never an issue to have too much money).”
“Additionally, I all too often see that retirees (particularly ones that what to age in place and have a sense of independence) are not selfish enough – they worry about retaining a house or asset for their children and would rather save every penny than actually enjoy their retirement years,” Nicolaou says.
“Having had many clients where both parents and children are clients, their children are financially better off and would much rather see their parents enjoying their twilight years than getting a bit more in an inheritance. Another option to consider (usually as a last resort) may also be reverse mortgages, to supplement that additional income if the family home is the only asset and in receipt of age pension.”
By following these tips and being proactive about planning for the future, retirees can successfully age in place and enjoy a fulfilling and independent lifestyle well into their golden years.
On a final note, Nicolaoua points out that “some people think that it’s too late when they are 60” to prepare to age in place, “but the likelihood is that they will have another 25 years left – 25 years of proper planning is certainly not too late.”
Preparing to age in place can be a fulfilling and empowering experience for those over 60. By planning ahead, staying physically and socially active, engaging in mentally stimulating activities, using technology, seeking out community resources, and staying on top of your health, you can enjoy a safe, comfortable, and independent lifestyle in your own home for years to come.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.