GrandCare welcomes guest blogger Jim Vogel. Recently Jim’s mother realized it had become difficult to manage living in and maintaining her home. So, the search for a new, senior-friendly home for her began. As he helped her with the search, he learned a lot about what to consider when buying a home for an elderly person, and he wanted to share his expertise. Welcome, Jim. And thanks!
You’ve entered retirement – your golden years – and you’re living in a big house that’s getting expensive to heat and cool each season and difficult to care for and keep up.
That’s why so many seniors are downsizing from their old, big house into one that’s smaller, cheaper, and easier to live in. That can mean a literal house, or it could refer to a condo or retirement community patio house. Either way, here are some tips for finding the perfect home for your senior years.
Simplify Your New Life
It can be hard leaving behind your old home. After all, it’s your home. It’s full of memories and love. But that big house made sense to buy when you were younger. You had a family to shelter, and you had the income for it. With your income reduced by retirement, paying those ghastly utility bills can be a problem.
What should you look for in your new home? Here are a few things:
- Because mobility can be a problem as you get older, go with a home or condo that doesn’t have any stairs. A few steps can be okay, but definitely keep to a one-level home or a condo with an elevator.
- Not all condos are in giant buildings. You should be able to find patio homes: small houses in communities, often sharing a wall. These are often less expensive than a new home, and they can have great amenities like a community pool or tennis court.
- Look for a house that’s very well taken care of. The last thing you need after making the move into your new home is costly repairs. Find owners that take great care of their home.
Watch Out For Common Mistakes
Although buying a new home as a senior is not complicated, there are some mistakes people often make that you should avoid.
The biggest is not going into this with a plan. Instead of just trying to find a cute, small house, think about all that you’ll be leaving behind. Then try to find that in your new house. In fact, one great idea is to spend a few days in the new town. There’s no better way of making sure your new home will be located in a great community.
Be careful about putting too much money down. You’ll need cash in your first few years, and all seniors need access to a financial reserve in case illness or injury strikes. Besides, you may have to make some emergency repairs to a new home.
Lastly, don’t forget to think about your future there. For example, you’re probably having no problem driving these days. But you know how that can change. If you buy a home in the typical suburban development, the nearest grocery store could be miles away.
Preparing That New Home For You
It’s impossible to find the perfect home. That means you’ll almost definitely need to modify your new house to accommodate your needs.
Make sure all steps and stairs have solid handrails. Then, install some grab rails in your bathroom as well. If there are area rugs, secure them to the floor so they are not a trip hazard anymore. Check the lighting at night. As your vision starts to get worse, a bright area with contrasting colors can make a huge difference.
You should also consider a home monitoring system like GrandCare. It can stay connected with loved ones, while it helps you monitor your wellness and encourages a social and active lifestyle. It provides tools to help you manage your medications, calendar appointments, and daily routines.
Your New Home Is Waiting For You
Just because you’re in your senior years doesn’t mean you can’t handle this. You just need to make a good plan that includes picking the right home in the right community.
Jim Vogel is the co-founder of ElderAction.org, an organization that provides resources to adult children and caregivers who are caring for senior parents. He is passionate about spreading awareness of improving senior living.