You Have Options: Aging Independently, Safely, at Home

We recently encountered some scary DIY wiring on an old home in one of our favorite historic neighborhoods. Wiring that's been installed incorrectly or is simply old and decaying poses a serious security risk to you, your home, your loved ones. And it's just one of the issues in older homes that needs to be addressed by a professional, whether you're looking to sell and downsize or age in place in your current home. But here's the thing: aging at home, or aging in place, does not mean you are bound to one home, forever, until the end of your days. You have loads of options.

 Old wiring that's hidden behind drywall is downright dangerous.

Old wiring that's hidden behind drywall is downright dangerous.

Choosing to Age at Home (or Age in Place) doesn't necessarily translate to planting roots in one home, no matter what, till the end of your days. Instead, making the choice to Age at Home means you are quite likely to choose to downsize to a more manageable space -- one that's designed with your needs now and in the future in mind. Making that move affordable can mean building a tiny home, it can mean renovating your existing space so the first level is accessible and can be an entire living space for you (and your significant other, if applicable), or it can mean simply moving into a smaller house that's ripe and ready for Universal Design renovation.

The bottom line is that you have a lot of options to determine what kind of living space is best suited to your financial and personal needs and goals, and Aging at Home does not mean you are bound forever to one large house that's too much for you to manage. Consider safety, for yourself and our loved ones, now and later, first. 

Regardless of what size home you choose, it's imperative that you communicate with certified professionals to ensure the home is safe and sound for you to live in. Consult with an expert in the construction field who's experienced with making homes aging-in-place ready (preferably CAPS certified). If you realize you're in a home that's just got too much work to make it right at this point in your life, reach out to us or someone else who's educated themselves on how best to serve the housing needs (and more) of the 55+ generation (Plan with Foresight is a great place to start). 

 

Aging at Home: Tiny Homes

 An example of a beautiful Tiny Home intended for Aging in Place -- accessible outdoor beauty is always a must and it's something to behold here. 

An example of a beautiful Tiny Home intended for Aging in Place -- accessible outdoor beauty is always a must and it's something to behold here. 

Choosing to build a tiny home (or live in an existing one) can be a very smart, economical way to age in place, at home. Not only is the space cost-effective, but it can be designed and built to specifically suit anyone with special needs -- in fact, one of the examples in this slideshow was specifically built by a dad for his special needs daughter. And Universal Design principles are exactly what we use when creating an aging-in-place ready home. 

Another reason tiny homes can be a great option: you can build on existing land right next door to family. We've learned from firsthand experience that having family nearby makes a huge difference in our ability to help (which is why my in-laws are moving next door), and can mean a much better quality of life for everyone involved. Remember that when you're considering how and where to build your Aging in Place home, the people who care about you the most want to be available to assist -- and the closer you are, the simpler that is for everyone. 

This article from Builder on Tiny Homes for Aging in Place is a great way to start the discussion about moving closer to family and friends. Are you considering a tiny home, either stand-alone or as an addition or extension to a family home? We'd love to hear about it!