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What is aging in place?

A term used to describe a person living in the residence of their choice, for as long as they are able, as they age. This includes being able to have any services (or other support) they might need over time as their needs change.

My wife and I have been living in the same home in the burbs for the last 20 years. Great neighbours, safe neighbourhood and walking distance to schools, it did a great job of meeting our needs when we first moved in with two school aged children. At 2800 sf it continues to meet our needs with now two adult children at home as well as my 94 year old mother.  That said it will be absolutely the wrong place to be living in twenty years. Too much house, too much yard and no amenities within walking distance. You get the picture.

One of the biggest benefits in retirement is having the time to do the things you enjoy most. Finding the right place to live is an important part of that equation and it can involve much more than downsizing in the same community.

 Four things to consider before you decide to pack up and move:

  1. Check with your partner. It is critical for each partner to make a list of priorities for a retirement location and then compare notes. Finding an ideal retirement spot often requires compromise. By checking-in, I already know the Ecuador and CoHousing are not up for consideration. ;o)
  2. Take the long view. You can expect to spend 20+ years in retirement. Chances are your needs are going to change during that time. By ensuring that your new home can accommodate these changes you reduce the risk of yet an another move at an age where that is the last thing you would want.
  3. Location! Location! There is much to think about when landing on a place to retire. Vibrant city versus college town. Close to family and friends versus a more temperate climate. Put together a checklist of “must haves,” “nice to haves” and “definitely don’t want.”  Considerations should include:
  • walking distance to amenities: grocery and drug store, coffee shops and restaurants.
  • good public transit.
  • access to quality health and wellness services
  • does the community accommodate your hobbies and leisure activities
  • if travel is important are you close to an international airport
  • opportunities to become involved and meet new people in the community

4. Take a trial run. Once you have landed on a place that you believe meets your needs look to rent a place in in the area for a few months to get a true sense of what it is like to be a local in the community. What you love about an area two weeks out of the year may not make for a great permanent home.

There is much to be said for living in our own homes our whole lives if possible. Aging in the right place is a major step toward this goal.

As President of Your Future Reimagined (YFR) Coaching and Consulting, I help professionals/executives successfully transition to enjoyable and enriching retirements.


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