Home is the place where you live. But, ideally, that home also provides safety, security, comfort and happy memories. It’s a place you may have known for many decades, where you raised a family and enjoyed your life. From a farmhouse with lots of acreage to a downtown loft, your home is a sacred space.
But there comes a time where it may be wise or necessary to consider other options. Your home may now be too big with the upkeep too cumbersome. As the community, your neighbors, or your personal situation changes, it is wise to consider other living arrangements.
Primary considerations for choosing housing could be cost (both immediate and long-term), amenities you find desirable (both within your home and/or your community), your health, physical limitations, and people or services which are able to help you, if you need it.
The desire to stay where you are
For many older adults, the desire to stay in their current home and “age in place” remains strong. The 2018 AARP National Survey of Home and Community Preferences found that 3 of 4 adults aged 50 and older desire and plan to stay in their homes and communities.
The first step in remaining in your home is to make it a safer place for you as you age. In-home care assistance services offer several tips for remaining safe at home:
- Remove fall hazards (like throw rugs, excess furniture)
- Ensure a safe bathroom (install grab bars, set your water heater thermostat to no higher than 120 degrees, install a hand-held showerhead, use a nightlight)
- Make your house more user-friendly (replace round door knobs with levers, be sure all areas of the home are well lit, use water faucets with lever handles rather than knobs that twist, be sure steps are secure and railings strong)
- Be sure the exterior of the home is safe, especially around entrances. Install and repair railings on porches and walkways, where necessary, and maintain landscaping so it doesn’t interfere with access to the home.
The AARP National Survey also found that older adults who are “aging in place”, are concerned about the need for help with home maintenance, chores and transportation services. The Toledo area’s Senior Centers, in concert with the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio (AOoA), offer a wide range of services including home cleaning and general maintenance, minor repair work, food deliveries and transportation. Visit the AOoA website (areaofficeonaging.com) and use the navigator, which was created with the Ability Center of Northwest Ohio, to directly arrange for transportation from your location. The Office will assist you if you call 419 382-0624.
In addition, you can arrange, with a listing of private organizations, for all levels of in-home health care through AOoA. The University of Toledo’s Center for Successful Aging provides education, research and services to older (800-586-5336) , and BGSU’s Optimal Aging Institute offers resources, information and programs to help adults age with assistance (419-372-7920).
Consider inviting family to live with you.
In addition to being good company, family members can also help with home management and dealing with visitors. You may consider adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to your property. Often called a mother-in-law apartment or granny-flat, an ADU is a separate or attached building where your family member (or you!) can have privacy while being close by. The City of Toledo allows ADUs, within limits. (http://cdn.toledo.oh.gov/uploads/documents/Building-Inspection/Accessory-Building-Requirements.pdf or call 419-245-1220 Toledo’s Building Inspection Department).
Benefits of living in a community
Whether your community is family-focused or a group of neighbors who feel like family, older adults often benefit by being involved with others outside the home. An adults-only community may be a good choice. With residents at similar stages of life, often relationships develop due to shared circumstances. In addition to villa homes, condos or apartments (for purchase or lease), these communities (for example, the Stoney Creek community in Monclova) may feature a variety of amenities, from swimming pools and clubhouses to golf courses, walking trails and pickleball courts.
There are also many apartment complexes in the area which allow adults over 50, 55 or 60. These communities operate much like other apartments, with a range of prices and locations to best serve your needs. West Park Place, Pelham Manor, and Genesis Village in Toledo, and Harbor Town and The Commons in Perrysburg are some of the many apartment communities for older adults in this area.
Independent living communities are designed for those who want to live in an active setting, but without the worries of house maintenance, cooking or housekeeping. Some independent living communities in this area include Alexis Gardens in Toledo and The Crescent at Oakleaf Village in Sylvania.
For those who need some (or more) assistance
For adults who want to move from their longtime home into a situation that can adapt to their needs over time, many communities offer independent living, continuing care, assisted living and even skilled nursing in one location. A person can begin in the independent living section of the community and move to different parts of the community as needs change. In addition, those with a spouse or partner can be close, even if you both have different levels of care requirements.
Assisted living and skilled nursing facilities provide higher levels of care to older adults with medical issues. In many locations, staff are available 24 hours per day, and meals, medication management, bathing, dressing, housekeeping and transportation are offered to residents. Common dining and social areas are great for being with friends and family. Some communities that provide a continuum of care in this area include Abundant Life Perrysburg, Addison Heights Maumee, Arbors at Oregon and Sylvania, and Vibrant Life Senior Living, Temperance.
The Area Office On Aging has introduced a new link that assists seniors with housing options. This new service will greatly ease the process of finding available space that fits your needs and desires. To access the link, call the AOoA at 419-382-0624 or on line at areaofficeonaging.com.