Planning Ahead to Age in Place in Columbus

Planning Ahead to Age in Place in ColumbusAre you preparing to buy a home for your retirement years? As you make a list of what you want in a home, prioritizing you budget and considering your future lifestyle, take some time to evaluate whether aging in place is a goal for you. 

Aging in place has become an increasingly popular preference among retirees, offering a slew of benefits and becoming more feasible thanks to smart home technology. If you're interested in learning more about aging in place, you're in the right place. 

What is aging in place?

Aging in place is a term that has been coined to describe older adults living in their own homes and communities safely, independently, and comfortably as they age. This concept emphasizes the preference of many seniors to remain in familiar surroundings rather than moving to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Aging in place involves not only staying in the same residence but also ensuring that the living environment adapts to your changing needs and capabilities.

What are the benefits of aging in place?

The benefits of aging in place are abundant, for both you as the older adult and your family who may become caretaker. These are some of the reasons so many buyers in your demographic are planning ahead for aging in place:

Comfort and Familiarity: Remaining in a familiar environment provides emotional comfort and stability. Seniors are surrounded by their personal belongings, memories, and community connections, which help to maintain their quality of life.

Independence and Autonomy: Aging in place allows seniors to maintain a sense of independence and control over their daily routines and lifestyle choices. This autonomy is crucial for mental and emotional well-being.

Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to the high costs associated with assisted living facilities and nursing homes, aging in place can be more affordable. While there may be expenses for home modifications and in-home care, these costs are often lower than those for institutional care. If possible, planning ahead for aging in place when your are house hunting can minimize the expense of making your home conducive to this goal. 

Personalized Care: In-home care can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual, providing a higher level of personalized attention and support. In addition to being more convenient and comfortable, this often leads to better health outcomes.

Community and Social Connections: Staying in their own homes allows seniors to remain part of their community, maintaining social connections with neighbors, friends, and local organizations. This social interaction is essential for preventing loneliness and depression.

Health and Well-Being: Familiar surroundings and the ability to adhere to personal routines can positively impact an individual's physical and mental health. Studies have shown that aging in place can reduce stress and promote better overall health outcomes.

What should I look for in a home to accommodate aging in place?

Not all homes are going to work well for aging in place. You'll need find a home that is either ready to accommodate limited mobility and space for caretakers, or one that can be renovated to include features like these:

Single-Level Living: Homes with a single-level layout are ideal for aging in place, as they eliminate the need for navigating stairs, which can be challenging and dangerous for seniors with mobility issues. If you find a two-story home that you love, just make sure that you can live on the first floor if necessary, with at least one full bathroom and bedroom on the main level. 
Accessible Entrances and Exits: You will need to ensure that entrances and exits are easily accessible, with ramps or no-step entries. Wide doorways and hallways are also important to accommodate walkers, wheelchairs, and other mobility aids.
Non-Slip Flooring: Choose flooring materials that reduce the risk of slips and falls, such as non-slip tiles, low-pile carpets, or hardwood with non-slip finishes. 
Adequate Lighting: Proper lighting is crucial for safety. Install bright, energy-efficient lighting throughout the home, particularly in hallways, staircases, and bathrooms. Consider motion-sensor lights for added convenience. A home with lots of natural light will be ideal. 
Bathroom Safety: Bathrooms should be equipped with grab bars, non-slip mats, and walk-in showers or tubs. Elevated toilet seats and handheld showerheads can also enhance safety and ease of use. Look for homes that already have these features or can be renovated within your budget to include them.
Functional Kitchen: A kitchen designed for accessibility includes features such as lower countertops, pull-out shelves, and lever-style faucets. Ensure that frequently used items are within easy reach to minimize bending or stretching. Most kitchens can be modified to make this work, but you don't want something too crowded or small. 
Bedroom Accessibility: The primary bedroom should ideally be located on the main floor and have enough space to maneuver around the bed. 
Smart Home Technology: Technology can play a significant role in aging in place. Smart home devices, such as automated lighting, thermostats, security systems, and voice-activated assistants, can enhance safety and convenience. These are not difficult to add to any home if those you are looking at now do not yet feature the technology. 
Emergency Preparedness: It is essential to install smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and emergency alert systems. 
Outdoor Spaces: Maintain safe and accessible outdoor areas, including well-lit pathways, level ground, and sturdy handrails. Gardens and patios should be designed for easy access and enjoyment. Pay attention to how much of the property you will be able to access if your mobility decreases.

Phyllis Malcom of Horseshoe Bay Resort Sales Company shared what she would encourage her clients to prioritize in a home for aging in place:

"When house hunting for a home with plans to age in place, prioritize features like single-level living, wide doorways, and step-free entrances. Look for homes with accessible bathrooms, including walk-in showers and grab bars, and ensure the kitchen is user-friendly with pull-out shelves and lever-style faucets. Ample natural and artificial lighting, non-slip flooring, and smart home technology can greatly enhance safety and convenience, making the home a comfortable and secure environment for your retirement years."

If you're ready to learn more about finding a home that's perfect for your retirement goals, we can help you explore homes for sale in Columbus that meet your needs. Contact us any time to get started. 

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