A house is the most significant purchase you'll ever make in your life.
So you probably want to be able to stay there for quite some time. And you probably want to avoid going into a retirement home until absolutely necessary.
But how do you make sure that your house - and the community where your house is located - are prepared for aging?
The Government of Canada offers this advice for Aging in Place. But I really like The SAFE Plan is one to help clients prepare themselves for the future.
For the home, the elements of the SAFE Plan include: Safety, Access, Fit & Ease.
The questions you need to ask about your home include:
- Are there risks in the home? Dim lighting, steep stairs, hand rails, clutter, frayed wiring or structural problems?
- Is the home isolating? Is there storage accessible?
- Does the house fit your needs right now? Will it in 15 or 20 years?
- Can the home be modified? Can doors accommodate a wheelchair?
- Will you be able to cover the cost of maintenance, given your life expectancy? Housing prices in the city are completely inflated and this is a main driver of rural living.
The questions you need to ask about your community include:
- Is the neighbourhood safe? Declining? Is the area safe?
- Is there access to family members close by? Hospitals? Banks?
- Are essential services accessible without driving?
- Is the community set up to allow seniors to move freely when there is a lot of snow on the roads?
Many of my senior clients marvel at how the roads are almost better maintained out here in the country than in the city. We are used to snow and we are set up to deal with it quickly and easily.
We as a community have a responsibility to help make sure our area is welcome and SAFE for retiring newcomers. The TROUT Program is an innovative rural transport program that helps seniors make it to town and back. We have all four major Canadian banks and two grocery stores. We have a few pharmacies and a great post office. We have contractors that specialize in beautiful home crafting and have managed all sorts of added accessibility features.