You’re Retired, Now What?
For years you’ve lived in that sprawling house where you raised your children . . . it’s home. But now you don’t need all the space and the upkeep is becoming more difficult every year.
You now have to consider things that weren’t issues before. When you were younger, you never thought about how many times a day you went up and down the stairs. You didn’t mind having the bedroom upstairs and the laundry facilities in the basement. Now, all those steps are taking their toll.
Washing windows isn’t as easy as it was before either, is it? Climbing an extension ladder to reach the second story becomes a bit scarier with each passing year. As you age, you become more concerned about falling.
You may be thinking it’s finally time to move into a home that’s a bit more senior-friendly, but what are your options?
• Smaller, single level houses
• Retirement communities
• Assisted living facilities
Let’s take a more detailed look at these options:
Smaller homes built on one level with convenient laundry facilities may be what you need.
Look for a house that requires little outside maintenance. A brick or vinyl-sided house won’t require painting. An open floor plan may be helpful if you’re ever confined to a wheelchair. A smaller yard allows you to garden but still keeps the yard work to a minimum. An attached garage is a helpful feature, especially in the winter when icy sidewalks can cause falls. Of course, finding a location that’s close to shopping, public transportation and medical facilities is also important.
Condominiums provide privacy without a lot of maintenance.
Like individual houses, there are many different types of condominiums from which to choose. The main advantage of a condo is that outside maintenance of both the structure and the yard is usually provided. Most condos include a small area where you can plant flowers but the lawn and other common areas are maintained by the association. There are additional fees for this mandatory service so be sure to find out if they will fit into your budget.
Apartments require no maintenance.
One of the main advantages of apartment living is that you aren’t responsible for any maintenance. You don’t have to worry about painting, replacing major appliances or yard work. Apartments also give you a certain degree of freedom because you don’t have to worry about them if you travel a lot. It’s important for laundry facilities to be easily accessible and that there is an elevator if your apartment is to be on a higher floor. You won’t have as much privacy and your only personal outdoor space may be limited to a small patio or balcony, if that. Rent is likely to increase and is not tax deductible on your Federal returns.
Retirement communities or assisted living facilities give you the highest level of security.
Both of these options are specifically designed for seniors and offer many safety features not found in regular housing. The amount of privacy you have depends on which community you choose. Your medical condition will usually dictate whether a retirement community or assisted living facility is your best choice. Some retirement communities offer private living space, much like individual homes, as long as you’re healthy and then provides assisted living if your health deteriorates.
Giving up the home where you’ve lived for many, many years may seem a little scary. But, often a new home that brings less responsibility and greater peace of mind will make you feel years younger.