Home Ownership for the Long Haul: How to Grow Old at Home

Are you looking to stay in your home for the long haul? It’s an idea that can make retirement more comfortable, keep your social life open, and even keep costs down.

But like any major life decision, it’s one that requires careful planning. In this article we’ll cover a few different issues you might want to think about.

Make things comfortable

While your multi-story home, area rugs, marble floors, or narrow bathrooms might be fine (or even fabulous!) for now, these features can become risky should your mobility or health decline. 

That’s why it can be useful to take an objective view of possible risk areas today. This gives you time to make changes or just keep an eye on things.

Common sources of possible risk can include:

  • Slippery floors
  • Narrow doorways
  • Multi-step entries
  • Flights of stairs
  • Door knobs (rather than handles)
  • Limited insulation

There are others that you might want to investigate. In fact, there’s a burgeoning cottage industry in consultations and even remodeling to help ensure that your home is suitable for a lifetime of potential needs.

Common changes can include:

  • Non-skid floors
  • Carpeting or low-profile area rugs
  • Grab bars in bathrooms and bathing areas
  • Lever-style door handles
  • Increased home insulation
  • Widened doorframes

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Obviously, as with any home renovation project, the sky’s the limit. You might remodel your bathrooms to improve access or even replace small stairs with ramps – and beyond. We recommend consulting with a professional or simply preparing a budget for possible adjustments in the future.

The cost of living

Staying in place can certainly be cheaper than other alternatives – you might have an especially low property tax rate, a paid-off mortgage, or simply a low cost of living.

But it can be helpful to also plan around possible costs.

In terms of lifestyle, once you get into the elder years, these could include:

  • In-home health care services
  • Cleaning, laundry, cooking, and shopping
  • Transportation costs
  • Support with financial management, bill paying, or other financial matters

For many elderly retirees living at home, family can become an invaluable source of support – but even still, you might find that you’re in need of help from a professional. Whether it’s cleaning or help with bathing and dressing, we suggest planning ahead for possible costs, where


This is especially the case if you’re already experiencing a chronic health problem or reduced mobility. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to help make your future more comfortable, and about what possible risk factors you could be facing.

The costs of home

Don’t forget about home maintenance! While home might be cheap compared to a retirement community right now, you’ll want to keep in mind that a 30-year retirement could bring a number of important maintenance costs and repairs.

Consider issues like roofing, insulation, painting, appliance replacement, remodeling, and everything in between. As a home owner, you might already have an idea of what the future might bring for your home, and it’s useful to keep those costs in mind.

Utilize your resources

 As you plan for home for the long-haul, don’t forget to check out all the resources that might be available to you. This could include your Area Agency on Aging, local and state offices for aging and social services, or geriatric care managers. There may also be private organizations devoted to geriatric assistance in your area.

These types of organizations can offer valuable information and advice, and in some situations even financial resources in making your home more comfortable.

Planning ahead for medical support

 Medicare choices are among the biggest decisions (and for some retirees, one of the biggest headaches) you’ll be making as a new retiree. Are you feeling lost? Download our free guide to Medicare, Medicare Basics, for important information about the options, risks, and possible pitfalls of different Medicare plans.

Get started by downloading our free guide today!


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Let Us Help!

We can discuss this topic and more at a complimentary appointment. As a bay area retirement planning coaches, we can give you a review and make suggestions based on your retirement objectives.

Important Disclosures

& Associates Insurance Services or United Planners Financial Services (United Planners). The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only. They are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual and do not constitute an endorsement by United Planners.

To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial professional. Please remember that investment decisions should be based on an individual’s goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. Neither diversification nor asset allocation can ensure a profit or prevention of loss in times of declining values. United Planners does not render tax advice.

Securities and advisory services offered through United Planners Financial Services, member FINRA, SIPC. Pasquale Vitucci, CA Insurance Lic. # 0758212, is an Endorsed Agent of Vitucci & Associates Insurance Services CA Insurance Lic. # 0I06319. Vitucci & Associates Insurance Services and United Planners are separate and unrelated companies.
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Further Reading

New York Times: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/aging-in-place/

National Institutes of Health: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/aging-place-growing-old-home

Age in Place: https://ageinplace.com/at-home/aging-in-place-home-ideas/