Buying a home is never an easy decision. And issues that come along with age, such as mobility decline and dementia, can make it that much more challenging. If you are a senior in the market for a new home, pause for just a moment to consider what you truly need. A home for your golden years requires much more than living space.
Your first consideration should be the overall cost of living in your proposed new home. For this, you cannot simply look at the mortgage. You have to factor in expenses beyond the initial price. For example, if you would rather live in the suburbs but do not drive, you will be on the hook for transportation services anytime you need to head to the grocery store or visit your physician.
There are other expenses that comprise your total homeownership costs as well. PMI is one of these. According to Bank of America, PMI, or private mortgage insurance, usually comes into play when your down payment is less than 20 percent of the final purchase price. The cost of maintenance and lawn upkeep are also your responsibility if you plan to buy a home.
In addition to cost, seniors must also think about the safety of the property. When you want to live alone, you cannot cut corners when taking steps to keep yourself safe. This is especially true when you consider the fact that 60 percent of falling accidents among seniors occur at home. Preventing falls and other injuries is a matter of adding a few practical upgrades, including ample lighting, grab bars, and non-slip flooring throughout.
During your home search, you may not be able to locate a property that meets every safety requirement. Because of this, you will also need to look at the expenses you may incur if you must modify a new home to cater to your needs.
Lifestyle and Livability
Why your primary concern is safety, comfort and convenience are also crucial when choosing a new home. Look for a home with a single story, which will be easier to navigate while also eliminating the possibility of falling down the stairs. Proximity to your physician’s office, family, and friends will also lend well to your happiness. Your new home should additionally be located close to recreational opportunities such as golf, swimming, or other activities that you enjoy.
Your body and mind are changing, and you may need to adapt as you age. Keep an open mind when searching for a new property. Even if you’ve lived in a single-family residential home your entire life, you might find that you no longer desire to be so far away from neighbors or that you are no longer able to change the floodlights, mow the lawn, or perform general upkeep. If this is the case, it may be time to consider independent living. These facilities allow seniors to still be self-sufficient while providing them with cooking, cleaning, and laundry services. Before making a decision, be sure to research amenities and prices in your area. For example, in New York City, the cost of independent living ranges from $1,500 to $17,250 a month.
You have options when you begin your new home search. No matter the type of home you choose, make sure that it is somewhere you can enjoy for the long haul. Don’t be afraid of the changes that come along with age. You have the power now to choose a home with features that will allow you to age in place gracefully and on your own terms.
Kent Elliot is a retired architect with a passion for dogs, DIY, and universal design. After a stroke left him with mobility issues, he thought he would need to move out of his home and into an assisted living community. But, using his experience as an architect and with a little creativity, he was able to successfully remodel his family home instead. The relief he felt has inspired him to help others do the same. He created Athomeaging.info to share what he’s learned.
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