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Aging in place

Blog by Kim Twohey | May 11th, 2016


Aging in place is a topic that is becoming more popular, and more talked about, as Canadians are living longer healthier lives.  In fact, seniors are Alberta’s largest growing demographic

Simply put, aging in place is the capability to continue to live independently in your own home as you age.  There are many facets to aging in place and it is a topic that warrants considerable attention.  If you are just starting to think about aging in place, either for yourself or a family member, here are a few things to help you begin planning for the future.

Is your home safe and accessible?

In order to age in place safely and comfortably, you need to assess if your home will meet changing physical needs.  There are two different areas of consideration to examine.  First, determine if your home can be modified to support independence as you age.  Consider things like the layout of your home, size of doorways, and if bathrooms can be modified with safety features.  Second, it is important to determine if you can maintain the interior and exterior of your home, either independently or with hired help.

Is your community accessible?

The type of community that you live in can have a considerable impact on whether or not you can safely age in place.  A remote community with minimal external supports and services may present significant challenges for someone who wants to continue living independently.  Make a list of your predicted daily, weekly, and monthly needs to help you determine if the community will be a good fit for you over time.  Consider things such as shopping, transportation, medical care, access to services, and recreational activities.

Can you afford to stay in your home?

Budgeting for future expenses is an imperative aspect of the aging in place planning process.  Determining what you can afford requires that you consider your monthly income and your projected expenses.  Your financial advisor can help you sort through the details of your retirement savings, investments, and pension plan to calculate your estimated monthly income.  Your advisor should also be able to help you determine what additional tax credits you might be eligible for as well as provincial or federal income supplements.  You also need to realistically estimate your monthly and yearly expenses.  This should include things like property taxes, utilities, food, health care and insurance, transportation, home maintenance, home modifications, clothing, as well as extras like vacations and gifts.     

Aging in place is an important topic and one that is worth discussing!  The Government of Alberta has an excellent online resource library full of information, considerations, and facts.  If you need help determining if your current home is a good option for aging in place, or if you are ready to start shopping for your retirement home, please contact me.  As a Senior Real Estate Specialist, I am expertly and thoroughly qualified to help!