Jun 30

Many people ask us if there is a right time to start planning for aging-in-place. If you are currently in good health with no mobility issues and if you plan to move from your current home at some time in the future, you probably don’t need to worry about it just yet. The only caveat would be if you have family or friends who have special mobility needs and they require home modifications to accommodate them. This will help them when they visit.

But if you already live in the home you plan to stay in after retirement, it’s never too early to start the process of modifying your home to make it safer and more accessible. Even if you are in perfect health now, later in life everybody slows down and feels the effects of aging.

As we age, we lose bone density, our joints become stiffer, our hearing and eyesight fades, and balance and mobility suffers. Don’t fret, it happens to all of us. Some people succumb to illness that further impedes our once youthful agility.

Aging in Place Bathroom

There’s no better time to begin preparing for the inevitable than when you are still in good health and have the finances to make adjustments to your home that you will need later in life. By starting out earlier rather than later, you can offload some of the expense a little at a time instead of in one lump sum when it may be inconvenient.

Almost everyone plans for the future with a focus on finances. Retirement planning is all about saving and investing money to live life in the golden years by traveling or simply relaxing and entertaining friends. Very few people plan for the physical slowdown that will occur. This usually entails preparing your home so it is safe, accessible, and livable for the rest of your life.

Begin by doing the most obvious things like installing grab bars, non-slip shower strips, raised toilets, and proper lighting throughout the house. These are fairly simple and don’t cost too much.

If you have the time and money, you may want to consider a main floor bathroom or bedroom if you don’t already have them. This could mean building an addition onto your home or converting a downstairs room. Planning for this now will prepare you for an unseen accident or illness such as a fall or stroke. A stairlift or home elevator might be an option, but there again, planning for this now will only help later when you need it most.

The best advice is to speak to a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) early on to find out how you should begin. They can assess your home and offer guidance on possible options, they best place to start, and, if needed, actually do the work. You could use a standard contractor but a CAPS specialist is trained in this specialized area of work.

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