Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
Are you putting off exploring your options for retirement living because you think you can’t afford what you want? The good news is you probably can. If you are like most Americans over age 65, you want to grow older in the home in which you are already living, rather than move to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Even after factoring in necessary remodeling and support care costs, “aging in place” is almost always your least expensive option, especially if you have no mortgage expense. On top of this, surrounding ourselves with familiar sights, sounds, and smells triggers memory and slows memory loss and cognitive decline.
Last fall, with our “nest” long empty, me dependent on a walker for mobility, and my husband Tony about to retire, we began assessing our current and future needs and how these meshed with the four-bedroom ranch home we built 38 years ago. Tony and I set in motion a plan to repurpose our space to allow us to live safely and independently in our beautiful house for many years to come. The end result exceeded our expectations.
Where we had only used about 80 percent of our house, we now use it all. We awake every day to marvel at what feels like a new house custom built to address all of our needs without looking institutional or financially burdening ourselves. While not “fully accessible,” our house meets our top goal of making it safe and easy for me to get around and complete everyday tasks on my own. Remodeling projects included:
Additional changes made to improve our quality of life included:
This is the perfect living arrangement for us, in that it also keeps us close to longtime family and friends and maintains our connections to our community.
Before you start making planning, contact the National Association of Home Builders to obtain a remodeling checklist and a directory of local aging in place specialists, as well as contractors who specialize in accessibility.