We spend most of our adult lives making plans for the future, partly because planning is just smart, and partly because it makes us feel like we have control over life’s outcomes. The problem is that many seniors who have reached retirement age start to feel like they have less control, especially concerning their health and the changes that come with aging. If you or a senior loved one has had this feeling, you know how scary it is! What you may not know is just how much you still can control.
Aging in Place
According to US News, being able to stay in their own home is a top concern for many seniors, but that may mean that you need to make some modifications. Remodeling can be a great alternative to moving because it allows you to have a great quality of life without having to give up the comfort of being in your own home.
You may only need to make minor changes in your home, such as replacing door knobs with lever handles and regular light switches with the rocker style. Other areas may require bigger remodeling projects, especially your bathroom. When you start thinking about these projects, it helps to have a budget in mind and a general idea of how much you’ll need to spend. The payoff comes from being able to age in place safely, and as an added bonus, it helps to know that more people are looking for homes that feature universal design, which means a bathroom remodel is good for resale value of your home.
Major home improvements obviously come at a cost, but the good news is that you can usually find financing for these projects if you don’t have the savings, such as using your home’s equity. However, many seniors still worry about finances in general, and according to CNBC, this is one reason why some people are working longer before retiring. Besides being able to cover regular expenses, seniors also face other looming expenses that they don’t know how to cover, especially the possibility of needing long-term care at some point.
Paying for Long-Term Care
Even if you plan to age in place, it’s a good idea to think about what you would want from a retirement home or assisted living community (averages $3,750 a month in Colorado) if you needed extra care, as well as how to pay for it. Seniors commonly think their health insurance will cover long-term care, but this isn’t always the case. For example, Medicare pays for skilled nursing care on a short-term basis, but it doesn’t cover long-term care in an assisted living center. Medicaid covers some assisted living, but eligibility is based on income and assets you own, which means many seniors don’t qualify unless they spend all their savings.
Since you can’t rely on insurance, many seniors pay for long-term care out of pocket through savings. However, it’s worth looking into other options, such as long-term care insurance or the possibility of selling a life insurance policy.
Loss of Independence
When it comes to the issues we face with health and aging, perhaps the biggest fear is how these issues will impact your lifestyle. We all want to stay safe and healthy as we age, but when health problems or loss of mobility hang over your head, there’s the bigger question of whether those concerns could lead to loss of independence. Some loss of independence is normal with aging, but you can focus on lifestyle changes to reduce that risk, such as ways to prevent falls and ward off chronic disease.
We know how uncomfortable it is to think about these issues. The flip side is that addressing them now can help you find a solution and take away some of your stress. We can’t control everything as we age, but dealing with these worries can make your golden years a more fulfilling and less worrisome time in life.
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