Ready to retire? You probably have a few questions about what to do next, or how to spend your time. One of those questions might concern your current home. You’ve been living in the same house for the last few years, or perhaps, decades. Now you’re realizing that it’s costing you more than what it’s worth, and anyway why do you need all those extra unused rooms. This is particularly the case if you or your spouse, or partner have had a stroke or other ailment.
Could now be the right time to find a new home?
The Benefits of Downsizing
With all the time you’re about to have on your hands, you’ll want to have the kind of finances that allow you to go everywhere and do everything you want to do. While you may have plenty of money saved up by now, you know that once you stop working the money you spend won’t be coming in at the same rate as it used to. This is particularly important if one of you has a disability of some kind which may impact the funds you have. For example, with a stroke you may be paying for additional stroke recovery therapy.
Downsizing allows you to have the financial freedom you need to live out the retirement of your dreams, while also preparing you for the years ahead. As you look for a new home, you should be thinking of a smaller space, one that won’t cost an arm and a leg to keep up, and that will support you in the later years of your life.
Picking Out the Right Home for Your Future
Not everyone likes to think about getting older, but as pragmatic adults, it’s important that we always keep looking ahead into the future. As you start looking through listings, there are a few new considerations that probably didn’t cross your mind the first time you bought a house. Heck, you were in a different place in your life!
As you age, your body won’t have the same strength as in the past. Walking up and down stairs can be exhausting, and potentially dangerous for seniors. No matter how large a house you are considering a prudent strategy would be to look at homes with one floor to eliminate the need to walk stairs. And if you insist on a home with two floors, be sure that the first floor has at least one bedroom and an adjacent full bath, just in case.
Your home should be able to support you safely and comfortably through the later years of life. Your cabinets shouldn’t be too high, and your doorways should be wide enough to allow a wheelchair to pass through easily. Bathrooms are another tricky area to maneuver, and while climbing into a large tub may seem easy now it would be more prudent to insist that a walk-in shower be included in the bathroom. Furthermore, you should have some handlebars in the shower and also, near the tub should you have one. Today’s designers offer safety bars in many decorative colors, designs and finishes. You don’t want your home to look like a hospital room!
Modifications such as non-slip rugs may not be necessary now, and you certainly do not have to install them right away. However, these are things you really should keep in mind as you pick out your next home.
A big question should be – can your new home be easily adapted for your later years? Is it small enough to get around easily? Does it have room for a garden, or a security system to keep you and your valuables safe? Can a wheelchair navigate the hallways and enter at least the master bedroom? If one of you is recuperating from an accident, some surgery or a stroke, for example, will the home be amenable to comfortable living without breaking down walls?
You still have many years ahead of you, and there’s no one to tell you what you can or cannot do. Go ahead and take that trip to Bali. Go on a cross-country road trip with your loved one. Buy a home that lets you host parties for your children and their children.
But no matter what you do, never stop thinking about your future. You will the happier for it!