While most consumers are concerned about the rising cost of healthcare as well as outliving their retirement savings due to increased longevity, many Americans are also overlooking other expenses that could strain retirement plans. Financial products such as term life insurance and annuities can help alleviate many of these expenses, helping make retirement more affordable while maintaining policyholder independence.
For example, many Americans choose to age in place and stay in their homes throughout retirement, rather than transition into a senior community or nursing home. Many baby boomers recall watching their parents age and struggle to accomplish daily living activities in their homes. This prompted boomers to encourage their parents to move into a senior community, in with them, or make adjustments to their homes so they are safer for aging residents. There have been advances in the technologies and amenities homeowners can add to their properties as they age to make daily living tasks easier, while increasing safety without reducing the value of the home.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Eric Klinenberg, a professor at New York University, said many aging Americans are living at home alone or with their spouse because they planned for their retirement wisely and have the financial resources to enable an age-at-home strategy. Medical advancements and healthier lifestyles have lowered disability rates in aging Americans in the last few years, making many retirees physically capable of taking care of themselves as they age.
Klinenberg said that the ability to live alone without assistance is a way for older Americans to maintain their independence and personal identities, and does not necessarily mean they are lonely. Many older Americans are engaging in hobbies in the community to remain socially active, and are using retirement savings or money from life insurance policies to fund these endeavors.
In addition, many retirees are upgrading their homes so they are more senior-friendly in their design and accessibility. These changes can include making more rooms wheelchair accessible, reducing the risk of falls near stairs and adjusting the lighting for senior residents. Some homeowners are turning old pantries into elevator shafts to eliminate the need to climb up and down stairs, while others are retrofitting other utilities so they are safer and easier to use, Fox Business reported.
Task lighting, for example, is an improvement in lighting for specific areas of the home. Other small changes include adding a bedroom on the first floor for easier access as well as creating non-slip floor coverings to prevent falls. Other retirees might even invest in a new one-story home so they do not have to worry about stairs, and can have all their belongings within reach. All retrofitting decisions should be made to increase efficiency and safety in the present day, as well as adding value to the home for future sale. Of all the possible in-home changes retirees can make, they all come with personal touches of style to avoid the home looking like a nursing facility or hospital, which is another perk of aging at home, Fox Business reported.