Aging In Place Probably Means Remodeling Your Home Sooner Or Later
One of the worst things about ringing in the new year is the realization that you are another year older, and another year has passed without you and your spouse talking openly with each other or with other family members about the fact that you are getting old. Getting visits from your children and other younger relatives during the holidays is an improvement over loneliness and isolation, but it is disturbing that your kids now worry about you as much as you do about them. Perhaps you have made the resolution every year since you turned 60 that this year you would start thinking about assisted living facilities or selling your family home in Maryland and moving to a tiny house in Florida or some other place with a mild climate. From the perspective of a Washington DC estate planning lawyer, staying in your forever home is a perfectly valid option, but you may need to make some modifications to your house to make it safer for your future self.
Two-Story Houses for Octogenarians?
In a series of articles on the Next Avenue website, Andrea King Collier documented the estate planning tasks she and her husband undertook in 2021. The last of these was making plans to modify their house for aging in place. Collier and her husband Darnay are in their mid-60s and in good health, and the house where they have lived together for more than 30 years was built in 1929. It is a forever home that suits them well, but when they think carefully about it, those stairs are steep, and that driveway gets slippery in the winter. The Colliers thought of things they will want to change in their house as they get older; some of the changes will go into effect sooner rather than others. Some changes, like removing rugs and runners that pose tripping hazards and hiring snow removal companies, cost very little and do not require any construction work. Some of the changes involve remodeling, though. These include installing a laundry chute from the second floor, replacing the stairs with less steep ones, and replacing the bathtubs with walk-in showers with sitting benches.
You know your house better than anyone else knows it, and you also know your own body, even the aches and pains you have never discussed with your family or your doctor. Think of all the ways to make living in your house safer and more comfortable and convenient for your older self. This could mean widening doorways, installing additional lighting, or adding handrails to the walls of bathrooms or other rooms. You might also want to move your bedroom or the washer and dryer to the main floor of the house, if they are not already there. Remember that aging in place is an ongoing process, and the sooner you start making plans, the easier it is.
Let Us Help You Today
An estate planning lawyer can help you refine your plans to stay in your house and make the necessary modifications to it. Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for a consultation.