Can you afford to age in place?


The majority of seniors between the ages of 50 and 80 say it’s important to stay in their homes as long as possible, according to the 2022 National Poll on Healthy Aging from the University of California’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. Michigan. But only 1 in 3 said their home definitely has the features needed to allow them to age in place.


Aging in place isn’t as simple as staying at home, you have to consider the costs, including those for age-related home renovations, home maintenance, and care. Some costs may be covered by Medicare if you meet certain requirements, but most will be paid for entirely by you.

“We know that about 90 percent of aging people want to age in place, but there are a number of things they need to consider,” says Jill McNamara, senior director of business operations at Care.com. From grab bars to yard maintenance, here’s what you need to evaluate.

Can you renew?

Staying at home usually means making changes so you can live safely. Many homes in the United States were built in the postwar period, when the country was young and manly and lifespans were shorter, says Louis Tenenbaum, founder of the HomesRenewed Resource Center, a nonprofit economic research site. of aging in progress.

You’ll want to think about the bathroom, entryway and bedroom, says Kathleen Cameron, senior director of the National Council on Agings Center for Healthy Aging. This includes things like grab bars and a walk-in shower in the bathroom, a ramp or door enlarged if needed for access to the home, and a main floor bedroom. If you rent, you’ll want to find out if your landlord would be willing to make these kinds of changes.


Costs will depend on what you need and where you live. Nationally, a mid-range bathroom remodel costs an average of about $25,000, according to Remodeling magazine, although updating just a few features will cost less. Building a wheelchair ramp will cost $1,000 to $3,300, according to Angi, a site for finding service professionals.

These are just starting points. For someone considering these changes, find occupational therapists or physical therapists to do a thorough assessment of the home and to identify what changes might be needed for someone to age in place, Cameron says.

Can you keep your house?

Even if you can safely step into the shower, you may still have a lawn to maintain, a kitchen to clean, and a boiler that needs a kick every winter. Landscape maintenance can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 a month, according to HomeGuide, a site for finding local home service providers. Additionally, a single house cleaning can cost anywhere from $75 to $380, depending on the size of your home.


Also consider that if you own your own home, you may need a plumber or handyman, things will break down and you will need repairs. So it’s not just about being able to live safely in your own home, says Tenenbaum, but also about being able to hire the services you need.

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Melissa Brennan, a certified financial planner in Plano, Texas, recalls a neighbor who handled all of his home maintenance tasks when he grew up, including hiring a landscaping company and roof replacement and foundation repairs . She lived independently and happily until her death because she knew his limitations and adjusted accordingly, she says.

Do you need home assistance?

As you get older, you may need help bathing or dressing, or you may need help cooking or shopping. An average home health aide earns about $27 an hour, according to the 2021 Cost of Care Survey by Genworth, an insurance company. If you needed five hours of care a day, you’d be spending about $4,000 a month.

I think most people aren’t aware of how much home care can actually cost, says McNamara. And besides, what will he pay for it? Because most people think, “Oh, as I get older, I’m going to have Medicare.”

While Medicare may cover home health care as part of a limited doctor-prescribed regimen, including physical and occupational therapy, it does not cover an extended period of home or accompanying health care.

Your local aging agency may be able to help you find services that can help you, such as transportation services or home-cooked meals. Understand what the options are locally, Cameron says, for someone who really wants to stay home as long as possible.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.

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