Picking a location for your retirement is no small task. Since there are so many factors to consider before making a move, where do you start? The most important thing to start considering is your safety. Senior safety can play a huge role in how healthy and successful your retirement can be.
Take the following factors into consideration when trying to pick your retirement location.
Affordability is one of the most important factors when it is time for you to pick their retirement location. You’ve spent your entire career saving for your retirement, so you don’t want to spend more than you need to in order to enjoy that time. You should consider the price of the home you’re renting or buying, applicable taxes, and the cost of living in the city and state you’re considering.
AARP published a list in 2017 of the cheapest cities to retire in the United States, which are:
Something to consider when picking a location for retirement is the climate. Some may prefer the cold, while you may want to avoid cold winters altogether. You can do some research and find places that are not only affordable, but have your preferred climate as well.
Whether you pick the South, Southwest, North, or Northeast, you can find a location for the perfect retirement experience.
Healthcare options are crucial as you continue to age. If you do not have health issues now, you will likely experience some in the future. When choosing a home to age in, consider the possibility that you may need easy access for any urgent medical needs.
After picking a location, you have a house to worry about. There are many different factors that go into finding the right retirement home. A few things to take into consideration are stairs, wheelchair access, keeping simple fixes under control and updates where they are needed.
You may not have a hard time getting up and down stairs today, but the day may come sooner than you expect. Stairs are difficult to navigate as you age and often cause unnecessary falls. If you find yourself in a house or apartment complex, make sure that you have access to elevators.
Whether it is you or a loved one in a wheelchair, you should be prepared. You will need wheelchair access to the house and throughout it. Rooms like bathrooms and kitchens will be crucial for the space.
In order for everything in your home to be wheelchair accessible, your home will need to have open areas with wide doorways.
Countertops and shelving may become a problem for you as you continue to age. To avoid having issues with either, having pull-out cabinets and multilevel counters are a must.
Areas like kitchens and bathrooms are both common areas for falls. To protect against yourself from falling, you can add slip-resistant surfaces and floors throughout the house. For areas like a shower, tub, and toilet, grab bars are extremely helpful. You can also remove clutter and rugs that can make you more susceptible to falls.
Unless you are building a new home to fit your exact needs, it is very likely that you will need to make some changes. Before you start on those changes, do a walk-through of the home and make a list of things that need to be done and prioritize them.
A few of the things you should be considering during your walk-through are:
Anything from a high step to something small you will have to step over could potentially become a problem. Even though you may look at some of these things and think they are not an issue now, they could easily become one if your mobility changes. Find anything that could potentially become hazardous and add it to your list.
When moving into a new home or updating the home you are currently living in, you can start with small things that will be simple fixes or updates. They can be minor renovations or as simple as changing out a rug.
Some of the following quick fixes may include:
Home Instead Inc. recently researched the safety of seniors in their living spaces. The survey was conducted with ER doctors, seniors, and the adult children of seniors, and showed that the home isn’t necessarily the safest place for seniors.
In addition, each of these groups saw senior safety in a different way. For example, ER doctors in the U.S. and Canada both say it is crucial for the adult children to perform a daily safety check on their senior parents. The research shows that only 44 percent of people in the U.S. and 41 percent in Canada do that regularly.
According to the same research, 85 percent of seniors have prepared their home for safely aging.
When it comes to retirement, aging well, and senior safety, the list of things to do can easily become long and overwhelming. In order to help make your home a safe place to grow old in while also maintaining your independence, start by seeing what programs offer help.
If you are on Medicare, look at your plan to see if Medicare will help with any costs when you are upgrading your home and any medical equipment that is medically necessary for your wellbeing.
If you are worried about the money you will inevitably be spending, start with smaller tasks and work your way up, but make sure you are prepared with options like owning a medical alert system. A medical alert system can give you and your loved ones that peace of mind you may be lacking.