Trovestreet® Wisdom: Determining if my current home works best for me
Location, safety, community, comfort, maintenance, and finances are the six things to consider when determining if your home works best for you.
- Location matters because adults typically outlive their ability to drive safely by 8-10 years.
Write down the locations you frequent for appointments, shopping, errands, and activities, as well as the addresses of family and friends you most like to visit. How many are within walking distance of your home? If transportation is required to reach them, are there options other than driving yourself? Is it easy to access those other options? Are there other doctors’ offices, stores, or parks closer to your home that you are okay switching to? Is your home located close to a hospital?
Only you know when access to the people and places most important to you outweighs staying in the home you love.
- Prioritize safety.
Do you feel comfortable where your home is located? Is the area quiet or loud? Is the street well-lit and public sidewalks maintained? Are there people you can reach out to in a time of need? How long would it typically take a first responder, like a firefighter or EMT, to reach your home? Do you have access to reliable broadband Internet?
These are all questions to ask yourself as you consider where you live. You can also work with an Occupational Therapist for a home assessment. Occupational Therapists are licensed health professionals who make recommendations that will enhance function and safety in the home environment. Click here to read TroveStreet’s Wisdom article on Occupational Therapists. (need to link)
Only you know when you not feeling safe outweighs staying in your current home.
- Build community.
Feeling welcomed, understood, and valued for who you are and what you offer your residential community creates positive aging experiences. What opportunities does your current or future community provide for people of all ages and differences? Does the municipal leadership reach out to its residents for feedback or to address community concerns?
Affordability, taxes, employment opportunities, real estate values, politics, climate, and access to public transit all factor into determining the best location for you. Only you know if the current community fit is a reason to leave your home.
- Maximize comfort.
Is the laundry in the basement or only bathroom on the second floor, yet you find it more difficult to navigate steps? Do you have a lot of yard space, yet dislike mowing? Do you like to spend a lot of time cooking and baking, yet have a tiny kitchen? These are just a few questions to ask yourself when determining if your house works best for you.
Making a list of the things about your home that are challenging or cause you stress helps you determine the level of comfort. Then ask yourself if these things can easily be addressed. If they cannot be, determine how much of a hindrance they will be on your quality of life as you age.
Only you know when routine tasks require more time, energy, and desire than you want to exert, which may be a reason to move to another home.
- Evaluate maintenance.
How well has your property been maintained? What things would be costly if it needed repair or replacement. Is your home prone to flooding? How does the water taste?
Examine the roof and check for any signs of damage or disrepair. Make sure the windows open easily and are in good condition. Determine whether the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are functioning properly. Look under sinks and behind toilets for signs of water damage or leaks. Is there discoloration of ceilings and walls? Check the basement for a mildew smell. Are steps and handrails sturdy? Are there holes, cracks, or uneven spots in the driveway and sidewalk?
Only you know when the maintenance tilts the scale towards moving into another home.
- Factor in finances.
Do you understand how your financial security may be impacted should your home require a major repair? Do you have the funds to hire someone to help with mowing, cleaning, shoveling, and handyman repairs? If you no longer wish to drive, is there extra in your monthly income to pay for a taxi or ride share service, like Uber or Lyft? Are you willing to pay a little extra to have your groceries or meals delivered? If married, what is the impact on your finances if your spouse passes and you no longer receive their Social Security?
Only you know the answer to these questions and know when it is time to consider a move.