What is Aging in Place, and Should I Consider It?

What is Aging in Place, and Should I Consider It?If your retirement years are drawing near, you have a chance to consider the lifestyle you want to enjoy for the rest of your life and buy a home that supports that goal. One key consideration you may want to prioritize is aging in place. 

What is aging in place?

Aging in place is the choice to stay in your own home as you grow older and need more support, rather than relocating to an assisted living facility, nursing home, or other long-term care settings. This approach emphasizes adapting living spaces to meet evolving needs, allowing you to maintain your routines, social connections, and sense of autonomy.

Reasons to Consider Aging in Place

Aging in place has grown in popularity in recent years, with awareness increasing around this comfortable solution and development in technology making it more accessible. This  is unsurprising when you consider all the benefits of aging in place.

Maintaining Independence

One of the most significant advantages of aging in place is the ability to maintain a high level of independence. Living in a familiar environment where you have control over your daily activities contributes to a sense of autonomy and self-worth.

Emotional Well-Being and Quality of Life

Research shows that older adults who stay in their own homes have better mental health and enjoy a higher quality of life than adults who move to an assisted living facility, and perhaps we intuitively know this.

Aging in place allows individuals to stay in their community, close to friends and family, and surrounded by familiar settings. This continuity can greatly enhance emotional well-being, reducing feelings of isolation and depression that can sometimes accompany aging.

Cost-Effective

Long-term care facilities can be expensive. Aging in place, while potentially requiring some upfront investment in home modifications, can be more cost-effective in the long run. Additionally, many home care services can be tailored to specific needs, often at a lower cost than residential care facilities.

We can help offset some of this initial investment by helping you find a home that will require minimal modifications to make aging in place a realistic goal. 

Home sales expert Bill Gassett of Maximum Real Estate Exposure provided helpful insights in the popularity of aging in place. 

"There are several excellent reasons why aging in place has become a preferred housing choice. Familiarity breeds happiness is often the most common reason. As human beings we are creatures of habit. Homes also become so intertwined in our life we become emotionally attached. Our emotional well-being is often part of the environment our homes create.

Secondarily, some seniors enjoy being independent. They don't want to be a burden on others. Their autonomy becomes incredibly important to them. Of course, this makes finding the right home essential. For older populations it means being close to major conveniences such as work, restaurants, shopping, and most importantly doctors and other health professionals."

Finding a Home for Aging in Place

When looking for a new home with the intent of aging in place, it is crucial to consider features that will accommodate changing needs over time. Here are some key elements to look for, or keep in mind as you plan for updating and improving the home:

1. Accessibility

  • Single-Story Layout: A single-story home eliminates the need for stairs, reducing the risk of falls and making it easier to navigate with mobility aids. Alternatively, we can help you find a home with a primary suite or at least one bedroom and bathroom on the main floor in case stairs become a problem for you in the future. 
  • Wide Doorways and Hallways: Ensure doorways and hallways are wide enough to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.
  • No-Step Entry: A no-step entry into the home is essential for easy access, especially if mobility becomes an issue. If the home does not already have this, consider whether it's a realistic and cost effective renovation for this particular property. 

2. Bathroom Safety and Accessibility

  • Walk-In Shower: A walk-in shower with a bench and hand-held showerhead makes bathing safer and more convenient.
  • Grab Bars: Install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet to prevent falls.
  • Non-Slip Flooring: Non-slip flooring in the bathroom helps reduce the risk of slipping.

3. Kitchen Adaptations

  • Accessible Countertops and Cabinets: Lower countertops and pull-out shelves make it easier to reach kitchen items.
  • Lever-Style Faucets: Lever-style faucets are easier to use than traditional twist knobs, especially for those with arthritis.
  • Side-by-Side Refrigerator: A side-by-side refrigerator allows easier access to both the fridge and freezer compartments.

4. General Home Modifications

  • Good Lighting: Adequate lighting throughout the home, including nightlights, can prevent accidents.
  • Smart Home Technology: Incorporate smart home technology for added convenience and safety. This can include voice-activated lights, security systems, and automated climate control.
  • Lever Handles on Doors: Lever handles are easier to operate than traditional doorknobs, particularly for those with limited hand strength.

5. Proximity to Amenities

  • Healthcare Facilities: Choose a home close to medical facilities and healthcare providers.
  • Public Transportation: Access to public transportation can be crucial if driving becomes difficult.
  • Community Resources: Proximity to grocery stores, pharmacies, and community centers can make daily living easier and more convenient.

We are ready to help you find your ideal home for sale in the San Fernando Valley. Contact us any time to begin the search or learn more. 

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