Friday, July 20, 2012

What we learned on vacaton about housing decisions

In my limited observations, one of the most difficult decisions related to aging is what kind of housing to have at different stages of life.  I have seen one person handle this extremely well.  She was in her late 80s, single and healthy when she decided to sell her single family home and move into a retirement apartment complex.  She carefully disposed of everything she wasn't going to take with her, prepared her home to sell, researched the potential retirement home options with a focus on only those that were rentals and offered some additional assistance such as meals and availability of short term nursing care, and then moved forward.  Why only rentals?  She is quite aware that her situation could change suddenly requiring a greater level of assistance and she did not want her money tied up in a property that she would have to sell to be able to afford care.  Good move in light of the real estate debacle that has occurred since.

Then there is a relative who impulsively put his home up for sale without thinking through what kind of housing would come next.  The desire to be rid of the cost and effort of a single family home is understandable - I feel the same way.  Once this person started looking for the next housing options reality set in as none of them were as nice as the current home.  After much discussion and with the advice of another relative who is a realtor, he was able to cancel the sales contract with our help.  Is his current living situation ideal?  Absolutely not but a lift has been installed on the stairs and other changes can be made as needed.  Is he willing to move into the type of housing available that better meets his needs?  Not at this time.  Can he afford to stay where he is and hire additional help?  Yes.  Is he sleeping better and feeling less stressed since taking his house off the market?  Absolutely.  Just imagine the stress and difficulties if the house had been sold and no decision had been made about next steps.

My husband and I talk about where we want to live once he retires in 5 1/2 years.  We know our current home and yard are untenable.  We want to live nearer to family and probably near a coast.  We tend to focus though on where to live geographically and not on what kind of housing and financial arrangement would be appropriate.  That is something we seriously need to talk about over the next few years.

Here is a link that can help you and your loved ones think through this important decision - Senior Housing Options


  1. I too am trying to plan for our future housing needs and long term care. It is all so confusing but better to plan now than burden our kiddo's with the task

    1. I agree. For the housing part of it I think it certainly helps if you are an adaptable person who can find happiness in a variety of living situations. And often it helps if you can just let go of many belongings and live with less.


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