While we’re just starting to see some drops, prices for new and existing homes have steadily and significantly increased during the past year. Construction materials – particularly lumber – are in short supply. It only makes sense that home remodeling projects have increased as well. Some individuals might opt for a renovation instead of a home purchase.
There are lots of reasons that individuals and families are evaluating their housing situation. It’s a good reminder that at some point in our retirement planning, we should start asking ourselves some questions about where and how we want to live.
- Do I want to stay in the same city? Or try someplace new?
- Should I move closer to family?
- Do I want to live in a house? Or a condo?
- What are the home features that are important to me in where I live?
Maybe one of the more important questions we should ask is “How will my home needs change as I age?”.
The New York Times recently had an article about “Aging in Place Comfortably and Stylishly” that talked about how people are thinking about where they want to spend retirement and how they want to live. I was reminded of some of the questions that Keith and I asked ourselves when we made the decision to move to North Florida.
In The New York Times article, they mentioned an AARP app called HomeFit. It’s a free augmented reality app that can scan a room and suggest improvements to help with safety and mobility risks. The app is an extension of their HomeFit Guide, a free publication available in multiple languages with tips to make your home comfortable and safe as you age.
One of the things we tried to focus on when building our current home is being able to age comfortably, safely, and stylishly in our home. In fact, this is something we continue to think about. For example, almost every home we’ve ever lived in had really tall ceilings – like 20+ feet. Not this house. For safety reasons, we don’t want to be climbing on ladders when we’re older. And our home still looks nice – at least we think so.
I did some playing around with the HomeFit app and it provided some safety suggestions to consider when it comes to making sure that rooms have good lighting and aren’t arranged in a way that would encourage a slip or fall. I don’t know that I have to act on all these suggestions right away; but as we’re decorating, it’s something to keep in mind.
Regardless of your age, having a safe and comfortable home is important. Apps like HomeFit can help us think about design elements that are both stylish and safe. And as we make long term decisions about our living arrangements, we can plan not only to have something beautiful for today…but safe for our retirement.