According to the U.S. census, all baby boomers will be aged 65 or older by 2030. We live in a country with an aging population, and it’s more important than ever for seniors to understand how to age in place while making smart, healthy choices for themselves.
People are also living longer. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is over 78 years, so more people are trying to come up with solutions that will allow them to live their best lives during their golden years.
Aging in place is something many seniors want to do. A survey performed by AARP found that 80% of seniors would prefer to grow old in their own homes. If you’re a senior or you’re trying to help out a family member who is, there are a few things to keep in mind that can make aging in place easier and less stressful. So, what can you do to stay in your own home as you get older while staying healthy, financially secure, and happy?
The Beauty in Downsizing
The baby boomer generation is often associated with the “American Dream.” Many people of that generation got married and had several children. Now, though, there are many boomers who are finding themselves with large houses and no kids to fill up the rooms! So, it’s not uncommon for seniors to want to relocate somewhere new or to downsize. Some common reasons for the desire to relocate include the following:
- Wanting to be closer to family
- Moving to a warmer climate
- Saving money
- Finding a home with less maintenance
Before you decide to move, consider the pros and cons of the types of homes you’re looking at. For example, an apartment might fit your needs since it requires less maintenance, but you may not be able to have a pet. In addition, you may not want to agree to specific rules of a lease.
Downsizing can be a smart choice for seniors who are looking for a change but don’t rush into it, especially if you’re not ready to leave your family home.
Taking Care of Your Health
The healthcare industry is growing at a rapid rate, and the U.S. spends double what other countries do on healthcare. One of the reasons the healthcare sector is growing so quickly is due to demand. The aging population, combined with technological advancements, are causing a huge growth and need for qualified healthcare workers. Of course, no one wants to end up in the hospital or to go to the doctor excessively. So, as a senior, it’s important to take care of your physical and mental health.
Your home environment can actually have a big impact on your mental health. If you want to stay in the home where you raised your family, there can be a lot of comfort in that. Unfortunately, it might also trigger feelings of loneliness if you’re the only one still there. More than 40% of seniors struggle with feelings of loneliness, and it can actually contribute to a variety of health issues. Give your mental and emotional health a boost by surrounding yourself with the right home environment. Keep these tips in mind to make your mental health a priority at home:
- Clear away unnecessary clutter
- Choose decor that reflects your personal taste
- Add pieces of decor for visual interest
- Take advantage of color theory
- Choose the right mattress and bedding to get a better night’s sleep
When it comes to your physical health, staying active and eating a healthy diet are two of the best things you can do, along with regular visits to your physician. If you have an underlying health condition but you’re determined to remain in your home, you might benefit from working with a care coordinator. They can help you with everything from overseeing treatment plans to monitoring your progress. If you need in-home care due to an illness or after surgery, a care coordinator can make sure you get the health assistance you need while overseeing the process.
How to Plan for Retirement
One of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself as you age is to make sure you can enjoy your retirement years. In 2018, 29% of boomers up to age 72 were looking for work. Even if you haven’t done much financial planning as of yet, it’s never too late to start thinking about your financial future.
There are several tips you should keep in mind to plan for a financially secure retirement:
- Setting specific financial goals
- Paying off your debts now
- Setting up savings accounts
- Easing yourself into retirement gradually
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about your retirement finances on your own. It often helps to work with a financial advisor who can talk to you about the benefits of investing. Advisors can also help you to protect your assets and help you to set up your family’s financial future.
Aging in place can be a reality for most seniors who are in good health. Whether you want to stay in your family home or enjoy your retirement years somewhere new and exciting, utilize some of these tips to make the experience easier on you and your loved ones.