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Make Yourself at Home

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 00:00
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Make Yourself at Home

Take the time to create a space that's just right for you now and in the future!

It seems many Americans agree with Dorothy Gale of Kansas: There really is no place like home. We spend years, decades even, creating a space that reflects our families, our lives, our personalities and our comforts. So it is little wonder that home is where the heart is and where we hope to live out the rest of our days.

If you're among the many who prefer to live at home as long as possible, you'll want to do what you can to make sure it fits your needs today and for many tomorrows to come.

Finding your place

Aging in place, a term used for living at home safely, independently and comfortably throughout retirement, doesn't have to mean staying in your current home. It could mean renting or buying a condo or townhome that meets your needs and is located in an area replete with activities you enjoy.

If you decide to move, be sure to find a community close to people you love so you'll have a social life and help should you need it. You'll also want to look for an area with well-kept roads and seamless and safe transportation options. You could be in your home for another 10, 20 or even 30 years so you'll have to account for a wide range of possibilities.

More than 80% of people over 45 prefer to stay in their homes even if they need assistance, according to an AARP study.

Making it your own

Proactively create a plan that will support your ability to live happily on your own terms. Think through everything from safety and convenience to accessibility of services that could make life easier and more enjoyable. Consider hiring a home safety inspector to assess whether your home is designed to meet your evolving needs and who can suggest modifications to custom-fit your environment to your anticipated lifestyle.

They might recommend:

  • Universal design elements, such as levered door handles and faucets
  • An open floor plan with wide doorways and halls
  • Single floor living
  • Front-loading appliances at counter level
  • Bright task lighting and automatic lights
  • Railings or wall support near stairs and in bathrooms
  • Slip-resistant flooring and stair coverings
  • Low-maintenance finishes and materials
  • Easy-to-reach thermostats, outlets and light switches
  • Low thresholds into the home and shower

Of course, these changes will need to be built into your budget. Renovations may be minor, such as $2,000 to equip the bathroom with grab bars, seating and a no-step shower entry, or more substantial, like creating a first-floor master suite. We can help you determine if the one-time expenses associated with remodeling make sense when compared to the costs of an independent living community or assisted living facility.

Check out selected home improvement specialists through your local Better Business Bureau, a consumer protection service or via online reviews; make sure they're experienced and licensed for this type of work; and obtain a written estimate with detailed specifications.

Building for the future

Once you know your budget, seek a contractor who specializes in this type of work. Ask friends, family and neighbors for recommendations or visit The National Association of Home Builders to search for a certified aging-in-place specialist (CAPS). These professionals have been trained in the unique needs of elder adults, aging-in-place home modifications, common remodeling projects and solutions to common barriers.

Before you settle on a CAP specialist make sure you find one who understands your desired lifestyle and fits your budget. They can help you find improvement options that fit your needs and your aesthetic. Then start to phase in changes that could turn your house into a retirement dream home.

Article provided by Melissa Stewart, CFP®, AIF®, Financial Advisor at the VanderWeele I Stewart Group of Raymond James & Associates.

For more information about Aging in Place, join West Michigan Woman magazine for a panel discussion on February 23 at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

The information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Raymond James is not affiliated with any other entity listed herein. Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and CFP® in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Asset allocation does not guarantee a profit nor protect against loss.


More than 80% of people over 45 prefer to stay in their homes even if they need assistance, according to an AARP study.


Check out selected home improvement specialists through your local Better Business Bureau, a consumer protection service via online reviews; make sure they're experienced and licensed for this type of work, and obtain a written estimate with detailed specifications.

 

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