“It’s Time To Look Inward Rather Than Outward As We Age In Place”

As we have the opportunity to continue living in our homes long-term – and as we are able to help others to do the same – we look inside the four walls of what we have to see where any improvements might be desired to assist us. We are concerned with staying where we are and in not needing to move. We are looking inward – inside the dwelling we have. Certainly, we are interested in staying inside our property lines rather than just in the building we call home because this provides our yard, garden, trees, and many of the other amenities we enjoy about our physical location. 

The opposite of this approach is to look outward at other types of housing that might be available for us to occupy. Fortunately, many people can age in place by continuing to live where they are. Some people do not align well with their homes, however. To this end, some homes just cannot be modified easily to accommodate people getting into them or moving about within them easily. They are located on steep sites, there are several steps to climb to reach the front door, the interior layout is not easily or inexpensively modified, the floor space is too small to allow for reconfiguration, or it’s an older home built in a time when narrower passageways and doorways (and less robust electrical systems) were more common.

If another property is being considered, there are three options available – and a fourth if moving in with family is viable. As far as living on one’s own and remaining independent, people can rent an apartment (possibly with covered parking and elevators, if these will help them adjust to a new location) or a home. Access is going to be of paramount importance since the reason they would be leaving the home they really enjoy is because of difficulty getting into it and moving about once inside. 

The other two choices are to find another home to purchase (new or existing) that provides all (or most) of what their current home is lacking – easier entrance, wider passageways, better accessibility within the home, newer kitchen and bath fixtures, nicer flooring and lighting, and generally an updated look over what they have now.

Should someone decide that their current home does not meet their needs and they think that going elsewhere will solve their concerns, there is much for them to consider financially. They may have to do some minor renovations (paint, fix-up, and simple cosmetic improvements) that they will need to hire done. They will need to retain a real estate agent and pay a sales commission for marketing their property since it is unlikely they could personally handle all of the details. They will need to pay movers to load, move, and unpack their household contents. There likely will be a few expenses to get their new home ready for them also, such as changing the locks, painting, cleaning, and minor repairs. Taken collectively, this is money that could go a long way toward making their current home more livable.

Unless there is a compelling reason that someone needs to move from their current home into another one, they should turn their efforts and energy inward and focus on making their current home and property more suitable for them to remain living there in a safe, independent, and enjoyable way. Aging in place professionals like us can certainly assist them in identifying improvements – low cost, if necessary – to accomplish remaining where they are and aging in place. If they were prepared to invest a larger sum in acquiring another place and moving into it, they could use that money to accomplish more improvements at their current residence.

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