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As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”The statement holds true for both 18- and 80-year-olds, and these days more of the latter are choosing to remaining in their residences rather than move into retirement communities. Known as “aging in place,” this requires the ability to remain independent and live safely in one’s own home. It’s a goal anyone can attain—provided they’ve properly planned to do so. Here are a few steps to get you started.

Evaluate your current and future health. While you can’t know for certain how your needs may change in the future, your current health can provide clues. Talk to your doctor about any chronic illnesses or issues you’re dealing with and the effect they may eventually have on your mobility and mental state. Depending on your situation, you may only need a little assistance with shopping, preparing meals or remembering to take your prescriptions in order to remain safely in your own home as you age.

Research sources of assistance. If you have family and younger friends in the area, they may be willing to help you out with day-to-day activities. If you don’t, you can still find someone to provide any kind of assistance you may need.

Personal Care – If you need help bathing or dressing, look for a part-time personal care aide.

Health Care – If you need help remembering to take medications, monitoring your vitals, completing rehab exercises or maintain medical equipment for a chronic condition, you may need to hire a home health aide.  Medicare may even pay for the service.

Homemaking – If you find it difficult to get to the grocery store, you can look into delivery services for both food and household items. A cleaning service can help you keep your home in tip-top shape, and a landscaping company can keep your yard neat and tidy.

Cooking – Meal delivery programs bring healthy, nutritious meals right to your door. You might also find a nearby senior center with a cafeteria, or hire a home care aide who will also assist you with meal preparation.

Modify your home as necessary. To remain safely in your home as you age, you may need to make a few modifications.  Consider installing a ramp to your front door, removing floor rugs, and adding grab bars in the tub or shower. Add extra light switches and nightlights in hallways, ensure stairways have sturdy handrails, and remove raised doorway thresholds. These and other changes can reduce your chances of dangerous falls.

Consider possible emergencies. If you suffer a fall or become ill, prompt treatment can be essential to a full recovery.  But if you’re living alone, you may not be able to easily get to a phone. Consider investing in a medical alert device that will enable you to alert the proper authorities at the touch of a button. You can find the top ten Consumer Affairs recommended services here.

You should also prepare a durable power of attorney for healthcare. This legal document will enable you to name a proxy to make healthcare decisions for you if you ever become too ill or otherwise unable to speak for yourself.

Prepare for the cost. Some of the services and products you need to age in place may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance or long-term care insurance. Talk to each of your insurance providers about coverage under your policies. In the long run, even paying for some assistance out of pocket could cost you less than moving to an assisted living or nursing home would.

Depending on your situation, you may also be eligible for Federal, State and local government benefits. You can find out more about the possibilities at You may also want to search the National Council on Aging’s benefits website for additional options.

Whatever your age, it’s never too early to plan for the future. Contact us today for retirement planning assistance.


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