Aging in place during one’s retirement years is a wonderful thing to be able to do when one can. While ideal for many senior citizens, preparation is in order to ensure your loved one can best succeed staying at home.
Staying at home may not be for everyone, but for those it is, there may be some modifications to make, concerns to address, assistance to consider, and legal preparation to engage in.
Planning ahead can provide smoother, more successful results as a senior citizen heads graciously into retirement.
Here are the primary first steps when planning to age in place:
Age-proof their home
When staying at home, it makes sense to make sure the home is somewhere that is secure and most relevant to the needs of your loved one. Home may be the best place for your senior citizen, but is it truly ready to give them their best life? Start thinking of any minor or major home modifications that may need to be done.
Examples of aging-proving a home may include:
- Lower cabinets
- Touch-activated sinks
- Less slippery floors
- Step-in bath with a seat
- Modified toilet
- Wider doorways and/or ramps (i.e., for a wheelchair, walker, etc.)
- Shorter or more comfortable mattress
Address any health or mobility concerns
Does your loved one have difficulty getting around? Do they take medication? Is your loved one affected by Alzheimer’s or other dementias? Regardless of the concern and its intensity, it’s important that you know your loved one is safe.
Addressing concerns may mean setting up medication reminders for your loved one, ensuring they have a proper mobility aid or providing a medical alert button in case of an emergency. Gear these solutions towards your family member’s specific needs.
It is never too early to tend to health or mobility problems, mental illness, or cognitive decline. Starting sooner can potentially make your living at home safer and more convenient.
Weigh in the types and costs of in-home care
Coming back to the last point, if your loved one has a certain condition or setback and cannot manage it alone, hiring at-home assistance may be important. Assistance can include yard work, cooking, nursing, transportation, and other types of in-home care.
Depending on who you hire for in-home assistance, the costs can vary. Consider the fact that you have the option of hiring someone independently or through an agency, or even at a flat rate or by the hour. In-home care can be around the clock, once or a few times a week, or just whenever necessary. Regardless, always do your research to make sure the in-home care you’re choosing for your loved one is trustworthy.
Hiring help at home doesn’t mean that your senior citizen has failed to completely meet their wish to stay at home during their later years. Instead, it means they can receive the specific help they deserve while still enjoying at-home living.
After all, not every retired individual physically can – or may not even want to – tend to their own yard, cook their own meals, drive themselves around to run errands, or bathe and dress on their own. The golden years should be what your loved one wants.
Have your loved one’s estate plan reviewed
Everyone at some point in their life should have a legal estate plan created. Having one means they can protect their assets and have their wishes granted after they pass. They can even designate power of attorney to someone they trust to make decisions if they can’t themselves.
However, an unfortunate 55 percent of Americans pass away without proper estate planning, leaving their children and/or other family members in a complicated situation. One misconception is that to create an estate plan, you have to be well into your senior years. Others think an estate plan is completely unnecessary. But the thing is, nobody knows when they will pass and even if their assets will even be distributed to their family without the legal protection.
Even if your loved one already has a plan developed, reviewing it will be necessary. Things change: relationships, assets, wishes, and properties – even in just a month’s time. That said, an estate plan will need to be amended too.
When your loved one is ready to review and potentially make additions to their current estate plan, reach out to us at Idaho Estate Planning. We can’t stress enough how vital it is to create and update an estate plan, no matter your age desires for retirement.