Elder Care Planning: Housing

 Who will change my light bulbs? How will I get an ice cream cone? Who will I have lunch with? These three questions have been the crux of intense research at the MIT AgeLab. Researchers there believe answers to those questions will provide invaluable insight when addressing issues of housing and quality of life for older adults.  The questions can also serve as great conversation starters to address the all-important question, “Where will I live as I age?” This question is often avoided until a crisis occurs.

I am finding the housing issue is coming up more and more often as I meet with older adult clients and their families.  For most, the decisions are less about the money (although the financial component is an important one) and more about the 4 “C’s”:  Comfort, Convenience, Companionship and Care.  Think about MIT AgeLab’s 3 questions with the 4 “C’s” in mind:

Who will change my light bulbs?

Consider who will do the day-to-day maintenance tasks and make sure that the living environment is safe and comfortable. If the older adult cannot do this on his or her own, bring in help to the home or move somewhere that provides these services.

How will I get an ice cream cone?

More than just ice cream, consider how the older adult will be able to access the big and small things that make them happy.  Answers to these questions may help determine where it might be feasible to live based on transportation challenges/needs, proximity and availability of shopping, worship and entertainment.

Who will I have lunch with?

Many older adults face a decline in the number of friends and relatives in their social network; socialization is vital to happy and healthy aging.  Consider availability and access to other people in the older adult’s social network when reviewing housing options.

The options for housing are many – age in place (may require home modifications), independent living retirement communities, assisted living, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and many other variations.  It’s important to fully consider the challenges, preferences and current and future needs when making the decision. And a team of advisors, including your financial planner, can help you consider the options.

In future posts, we will look more closely at each of the most common housing options in more detail.

This blog is part of an ongoing series that addresses Elder Care planning topics.  If you have a specific question or issues you’d like addressed, please contact me at Sandy.Adams@CenterFinPlan.com.

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In 2012-2014 Sandy has been named to the Five Star Wealth Managers list in Detroit Hour magazine. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

Five Star Award is based on advisor being credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR), a FINRA registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, including education and professional designations, actively employed in the industry for five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfillment of firm review based on internal firm standards, accepting new clients, one- and five-year client retention rates, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served.

Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and not necessarily those of Raymond James. C14-020079