The Blog

April 18, 2019

Considerations for Staying in Your Own Home in Retirement

by Shalmali Kulkarni

One major part of the retirement process is choosing where you want to live when you retire. This is a decision you get to make based on your individual needs, preferences, and desires. No one solution is perfect for every person. That said, for many people, the obvious first choice is to stay in your own home.

Retired Couple at Home sitting on porch with their dog and drinking coffee

The pros of staying in your own home.

It’s perfectly reasonable to want to stay in your own home after you retire. Your home holds your memories of time spent with family and friends. It’s decorated and designed the way you like it. It’s comfortable, familiar, and private.

With modern technologies, resources, and services, aging-in-place has never been easier. You can get help with almost anything you need in order to stay in your own home, including assistance with personal care, household chores, meals, money management, and health care. There are many people who can provide this type of assistance, starting with people you know, such as family and friends. Even if no one lives near enough to help you, there are government resources and specially trained professionals who provide these valuable services.

The cons of staying in your own home.

While it is possible to stay in your own home for quite a long time after you retire, this could quickly become expensive. You will most likely need to pay for assistance from caregivers, as well as modifications that will need to be made to your home. When you throw in rising property tax rates, ever increasing HOA fees, and utility costs, this could be just as expensive as living in a retirement community.

Planning ahead can help to eliminate the worst of this potential financial struggle.

If aging in place is what you envision to be your dream retirement, the best thing you can do is start planning early. Below are lists of factors you need to consider and save for if you plan on staying in your home after retirement.

Some of the additional costs to consider when you plan to age in your home:
• Ongoing maintenance – This includes annual upkeep, paint jobs, repair and maintenance work, etc.
• Home modifications to accommodate changing needs – This includes widening doorways, step-free entrances, shower and tub designs, installing stairlifts if you have a multi-storied home, etc.
• Hiring household help during later years in life.
• Caregiver costs if required.

In addition to financial considerations, you should also consider the following:
• Social isolation in your home – If your family and friends live far away, you may feel isolated in your home. Aging comes with a lack of energy, which could prevent you from going out as often, making it harder and harder to connect with others. According to Medical News Today, loneliness is considered a risk factor for dementia.

• Caregiver challenges – As baby boomers are approaching retirement age, there is a huge shortfall in the number of caregivers available to assist them. This could mean that although you have the resources to receive formal care in the comfort of your home, you may not be able to find anyone to provide you that care. This should definitely be a consideration for single seniors living alone.

• Eventual needs-based move – In the absence of good caregivers, you may be forced to move into assisted care, nursing care or even memory care if the need arises. Leaving the familiarity of your home may be much more upsetting if it is done out of necessity and not choice.

As you can see, continuing to live in your home does require some additional thought.

Living in your own home after retirement is the ideal first choice for many people. If this is true for you, it is important to get a plan in place as soon as possible that supports this goal, so that you have the money you need to live a comfortable post-retirement life.

That said, staying at home is not necessarily the default option that it was in prior years. Nowadays, more and more seniors are choosing to relocate, either to a retirement home or to a new state to be closer to family. If this sounds like something you are interested in, stay tuned for our next blog post on “Retirement Living Alternatives to Staying Put”.