When many people retire, they plan to live in their homes for the rest of their lives or, at least, for as long as possible. Recently, the AARP Public Policy Institute reported findings that 87% of individuals age 65 and older preferred staying in their current residences and communities over moving. If you are considering your options for your post-retirement future, you will want to know: How do I plan to remain in my home as a senior?
“Aging in place” is the term used to describe when an individual chooses to remain in his or her home throughout their senior years. This concept is designed to conform to the person’s needs as they age. The idea behind aging in place is that when professionals and members of the individual’s support system are responsive to their social, emotional, physical, and medical needs, they will be more successful in their preferred living environment.
Planning ahead is an essential part of being able to remain at home. One of the first steps is to determine the financial aspects of staying in your residence. You can start by examining your expected sources of income (i.e., retirement, social security, family, stocks, etc.) and expenses (household bills, groceries, transportation, medical expenses, etc.).
A critical part of this calculation is covering medical costs. Although you may not expect to need long-term care expenses, most adults over 65 will require this type of assistance at some point. Long term care can involve support inside or outside of the home. If you are paying for long-term care insurance, you will need to consider premium costs when creating your budget. If Medi-Cal is your plan for medical coverage, you will need to work with an experienced Medi-Cal planning attorney. Having a plan for your financial support and medical care beforehand can help provide a solid foundation to age in place.
Your family and loved ones are likely to have opinions regarding your decision to age in place. It would be best to tell them about your preferences sooner rather than later. That way, you can have an open and honest discussion about what you need and how everyone can be involved. Additionally, when you include your adult children and other close loved ones early on, everyone can begin on the same page and work together towards a common goal. When everyone can communicate, it will help your support system work together to help you live comfortably and safely in your chosen home.
If you plan on staying in your home for the long-term, it may make sense to make architectural and structural changes. Modifying your home before the need arises can help make it safer and more appropriate for your needs. You may be getting around fine right now. However, later on, having wider doorways and installed railing could help with mobility issues. Additionally, converting a traditional bathtub into a walk-in shower can help prevent accidents and make the area more accessible. If you live in a two-story home, you may also want to consider how you will get to the second story later on if your stairs become an issue. Assessing your home and thinking about possible alterations is an excellent way to plan for the future.
Another vital supportive resource for California seniors is the PACE program. California’s Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (CalPACE) is offered through Medicare and Medi-CAL. This program is designed to help elderly recipients remain in their homes while still receiving the care and treatment they require. For those who qualify, CalPACE can help ensure that they have the social support, medical care, and other services needed to remain in their preferred community.
Aging in place can be a realistic goal for many California seniors. However, to live at home comfortably and safely, today’s seniors need to prepare for their long-term needs and expenses and work with their support and community resource networks.
The best way to plan to stay home during your senior years is by working with an experienced California elder law attorney who can help you examine your situation and develop the right strategies for the future. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have attorneys who have extensive experience assisting clients with their estate planning and aging in place needs. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.