Elder Care Planning: Aging in Place

 In last month’s Elder Care Planning post, we looked at the 4 “C’s” when it comes to housing decisions for older adults; Comfort, Convenience, Companionship and Care. For many, those factors add up to a desire to “age in place.” According to a recent AARP survey, nearly 90 percent of those over age 65 want to stay in their residence for as long as possible and over 80 percent believe that their current home is where they will always live.  The MIT AgeLab reports that close to 90% of all Americans do, indeed, age in their own homes.  So, when it comes to aging in place, what challenges and opportunities come into play when we look at the 4 “C’s”?

Modifying for Comfort

Many people are most comfortable in their own homes.  However, comfort also includes “safety” and this can be a challenge as an individual ages.  Choosing to age in place means planning ahead to make sure that the current living situation is safe as health and mobility changes occur.  There may be a need to have the home modified or remodeled to make aging in place possible.  This can include things like widening doors, adding grab bars, adding a walk-in shower, moving the laundry room to the first floor and adding a chair lift or elevator to a two story home.  These changes can be expensive.

When Convenience Vanishes

The ability for individuals to stay in their own communities and be near people and places they know is of great value.  Depending on the location of the home, it may become a challenge to get to those places that once seemed so handy.  Mobility and transportation may become an issue, which means that it’s important to plan ahead and find resources to help.  Finding a friend, family member, or hired caregiver to assist with mobility and/or transportation can be a solution.  Also, try researching local Area Agency on Aging and Senior Centers that offer transportation services.

Finding Companionship

Once an older adult is on their own in their own home, one of the biggest challenges can be companionship.  Staying social and engaged is vital to successful aging, so for those who live alone, it is important to stay connected.  For some, that means engaging often with family members, friends, and neighbors.  For others, that means finding ways to get to social events, church services, classes, or other activities out of the home.  This may mean hiring a companion or caregiver who can visit several times a week. 

Care at a High Cost

The care component can be the most costly from a financial perspective for those who choose to age in place.  As individuals age, particularly those with chronic health conditions, care needs can be significant.  For some, there are family members and friends who can assist.  However, many people must hire caregivers to provide medical and non-medical assistance.  For those who need full-time care and assistance, the cost to age in place can be high … $10k  - $15k a month*! This is an expense many cannot afford. 

Working with a planning team, including a financial planner, can help older adults plan for what might lie ahead. By identifying future challenges, you can put resources in place.  Planning ahead provides the best opportunity to live the life you wish – at home or elsewhere.

In future posts, we will look at additional housing options for older adults.

This is one post in a running series that addresses Elder Care planning topics.  If you have a specific question or issue 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.

*Source: The 2012 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. C14-025162