As people get older they’re eventually faced with the decision on where to live out their golden years. For some the decision is simple – they want to stay in their existing home throughout their lives. For others, finances, health issues and other factors may sway them toward selling their current house and making a different choice. Let’s take a look at the common housing options available for seniors as you figure out which one is right for you.

Make Senior-Friendly Modifications to Your Current Home

According to the AARP, 76 percent of Americans age 50 and older say they prefer to remain in their current residence. However, many of them know their houses will need serious modifications to accommodate aging needs. If you have decided to go this route, you should make renovations that will make life safer and more convenient. In the bathroom, install handrails, grab bars, shower seats and motion sensor lighting. Also, consider widening doorways and hallways in your home to accommodate a wheelchair. Eliminate steps in your home, if possible, and relocate all your main living and sleeping space onto the main floor. And while this may sound like a smaller matter, it’s important to check your window glass for drafts, which can make the space difficult to heat or cool. Fortunately, there are professionals who can handle this job for you, though the price will depend greatly on the window and materials used.

Buy a Smaller Yet Senior-Accessible Home

Instead of modifying your current home, you may want to look into buying a smaller home with less maintenance and upkeep that is already equipped with some of the previously mentioned accommodations beneficial to older adults. If you have mobility issues, downsizing allows you to choose a home with greater accessibility that will be suitable for many years to come. Living in a smaller place can also provide the opportunity to declutter your life, as well as reduce utility bills, taxes, home maintenance and other costs.

Relocate to an Independent Living Community

Independent living retirement communities are suitable for seniors who are active and able to take care of themselves. These communities often provide access to swimming pools, fitness centers, walking trails, golf courses, social activities and cultural events. Though medical facilities are nearby and transportation options are available, seniors can maintain an independent lifestyle.

Choose an Assisted Living Facility

According to American Senior Communities, about one million Americans live in some type of senior living community. For older adults who want to retain some independence but also have balanced meals prepared for them and assistance with daily tasks, assisted living may be the answer. Assisted living typically offers planned social activities, transportation services and wellness programs. Also, 24-hour medical care is available when necessary. Assisted living can be costly; however, if you sell your current home, the proceeds can offset those costs.

Tips for Selling Your Home

If you have decided to get rid of your existing home, whether it’s for a smaller senior-accessible home, a condo in a retirement community or space in an assisted living facility, you will need to do your research before selling your current home. Look at online listings of other homes in your area to see list prices, the condition of the homes and other factors. For example, right now Birmingham is a competitive market, with homes getting multiple offers and averaging a sale price of $280,000. As part of your research, visit a few open houses to check out your competition. Through due diligence, you should be able to determine an asking price that is reasonable to you as well as appealing to potential buyers.

If you are purchasing a new, smaller home, you may be able to pay for your new place with the proceeds from selling your existing home. If you aren’t going to pay for your new home in full, talk to your real estate agent about the average down payment in your area and financing options. Write out a detailed budget to determine how much of a house you can afford. Also, visit your bank or credit union to get pre-approved for a mortgage before making an offer.

No matter what housing option you choose, make sure it’s in a safe area where you have access to hospitals, opportunities for socialization and assistance with transportation, if necessary. With some research, you can find the perfect place to live out your golden years.

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