Aug 31, 2021

Housing Needs As We Grow Older

What I discovered in caring for my 87 year old mother when she moved into a senior living community was that over time, services and security or feeling safe were far more important than space.  Initially, when my mother moved in to a very nice senior community, she had a larger one bedroom apartment while she was pretty much in independent living for the first 3 years of the 7 she lived in the senior community.  Once she needed more care, which added monthly expense, it became pretty obvious that it was time to downsize her apartment to a smaller one bedroom so we could buy her more care.  

During the last year of her life at about 93, we downsized her again to a much smaller apartment because at that point she needed around the clock care with staff right outside her door rather than the larger apartment.  Fortunately, we were able to do all of this within the same senior community that offered independent living, various stages of assisted living and memory care.  Of course, more care came with much higher monthly fees. 

As we all grow older and even before the need to move into a senior community, the odds are pretty good that many people over the age of 55 are probably living in a lot more space than they really need.  Certainly, once the kids move out and couples become empty nesters, it may be time to downsize to a home that meets current needs.  That may mean fewer bedrooms and maybe a great room instead of both a living room and family room.  And, just maybe at that point, the need for a formal dining room no longer exists.  The trend is moving away from formal living to a more open concept that combines space. 

It could be too that in planning for retirement cutting housing expenses long before age 65 is logical for typical working people.  Clearly none of this matters much for the rich that have more than enough money to last them to age 90 or older; but to most people, it could be necessary to stretch savings to cover additional medical and other expenses that will occur as we all grow older. 

At Paragon, we assist clients with selling and buying homes through all the stages of life.  We understand that needs change as we grow older.  What made sense at 40 years old may not make any sense at 55 years old.  Ultimately, it is about living a great life to the very end.  Housing decisions are important to making this happen.