There are many considerations to take into account if you have aging parents. Where will they live as they get older? Will it be safe? And how much does it cost? More Canadian seniors wish to remain in their own homes as long as possible, a practice called aging in place. Aging in place means having access to the services, health and social supports you need to live safely and independently in your home or community for as long as you wish or are able. There’s a lot to prepare for if your parents (or even yourself) are considering aging in place and having a plan is the best way to ensure they can age in place successfully.
Royal LePage Senior Living Survey
Earlier this year Royal LePage surveyed real estate professionals across the country who specialize in senior living or accessibility. They wanted to find out what home features are most important to people as they age. They found that 43% of Canadians who wish to age in place consider a main floor that is or can be converted into a single-story unit essential and 54% consider it desirable. A fully equipped main floor living space includes a bedroom, full bathroom, laundry and kitchen. Also important to them is an entrance to the front and rear of the property without steps and a walk-in bathtub or shower with a wide entrance.
94% of experts say purchasing a home close to family is top of mind for seniors, and safety and comfort are key considerations. They know that if they plan to stay in their current home as they age, it will have to accommodate the potential need for a walker or wheelchair later in life if they don’t need one now.
Also of importance is buying a home close to a hospital or community services (88%), walkability to nearby stores and restaurants (86%) and the benefits of living in a condominium (84%). Lowest on the priority list is a whirlpool tub (84% not necessary), lowered countertops and cabinets (51% not necessary), and an outdoor wheelchair ramp (48% not necessary). The survey also found that 74% of older Canadians are increasingly interested in aging in place due to the high financial costs of retirement living and 59% say it’s in part due to concerns over the safety of the living facilities, which was highlighted during the pandemic.
As Canadians age, they’re thinking about their long term needs earlier than previous generations. Even before retirement, they’re thinking about the features in a home that will help them transition seamlessly into old age. Some may be looking for a turnkey condominium so they can spend less time on maintenance and more time on traveling after they retire. Others may want to move into a bungalow so they don’t have to worry about stairs, or to renovate their existing properties to accommodate their evolving needs.
One main takeaway from the survey is that although not all seniors have the same needs, they all want to make their own decision on where and how they live, rather than having a decision made for them.