A stroke, even a minor one, can impact one’s life in many ways. As reported by the CDC, more than 50% of stroke survivors over the age of 65 suffer from long-term disability, with a prominent symptom being a reduction in mobility. Additionally, with age, one may find it difficult to maintain a large home and prefer to downsize into a property that better suits their needs. In this article by the Stroke Recovery Foundation, we’ll explore the steps senior stroke survivors should undertake to find the best property to age in place.
Home Buying Factors to Consider
Given that you plan to live in your new home for the foreseeable future, here are key factors you should consider for finding the right property:
- Age-in-Place Amenities: If you’re moving into a smaller family home, ensure that it includes an entrance ramp, or at a minimum has an easy way to add one without a lot of difficulty. Also, if you choose a home with multiple levels the master bedroom should definitely be on the first floor. But, if you prefer an apartment building, prioritize those which have accessible entrances, elevators, and 24/7 security.
Additionally, make provisions in your budget to make minor home improvements such as installing grab bars in the bedroom and bathroom and having a walk-in shower and non-slip tiles.
- Proximity to Healthcare Services: Look for properties close to hospitals as it’ll make it easy to receive timely care if needed. Similarly, finding a property located near your primary care physician or specialist is also a good choice.
- Neighborhood: Choose a neighborhood with a low crime rate, affordable cost of living, and preferably occupied by seniors. Additionally, the community should include the basics such as a grocery store, pharmacy, public transportation, parks, and other outdoor spaces. Also, is the area flat or hilly. If you are disabled in any way, or if balance is challenged, you would be wise to live in a flat area.
- 55+ Community: You might want to consider a community which restricts residents to 55 and over. Your neighbors will be in a similar situation to yours.
- Distance to Family: Given that you’re moving, consider buying a home close to your loved ones, as it will make it easier for them to visit you and help with home or health-related needs.
Purchasing Home Insurance
Home insurance is important for protecting your property against theft, natural disasters, and other unforeseen circumstances. Relocation will require you to purchase new home insurance, and while this will be an expense, the benefits it provides far outweigh the cost of monthly premiums. While the coverage provided will vary depending on the provider, here are some common factors that will impact your rate:
- Age and Condition of the Home: In the eyes of an insurance provider, old homes are a bigger risk than new ones. This is because old properties may have existing damages, old wiring/plumbing systems, and have a higher likelihood of claims. Hence, moving into an old home can bump up your premium.
- Credit and Claims History: Having a strong credit score will make you eligible for lower premiums. But, if you have made numerous home insurance claims in the past, the provider could use that as a reason to increase your rate. But a good credit score provides you the power to negotiate; hence, aim to maintain
- Home Location: If your home is located in a region prone to natural disasters, expect to pay higher premiums. But, this will be worth the expense because in the event your home is damaged due to a disaster, having insurance will safeguard you from financial difficulties and provide the ability to rebuild.
Additional Downsizing Tips
Sound financial planning will be key for downsizing successfully. Given that you will have ongoing healthcare costs, create a budget to factor in the amount you’ll need to spend for relocation, which can include hiring an agent, and movers. Ideally, the sale of the current home should be enough to fund the new one. The balance can be used to make necessary home improvements or towards healthcare needs.
Additionally, if you have belongings that you do not want to discard, but cannot fit into the new home, consider renting a storage unit. Renting a storage unit is often affordable. As reported by Storage.com, the monthly rent of a 10 x 10 storage unit across Florida ranges between $55 – $215.
Alternatively, if you have belongings you can’t fit, before you store them, see if your children will actually want them, to warrant the trouble and expense of storage. If not, donate them and get a tax deduction.
Our best advice is to simplify your life! Then you can focus on your life(s) without the burden of too much stuff, but we realize that everyone is different.
Good luck on your next journey!