For many seniors, the ability to remain in their home for as long as possible is a priority. For some, the set up and supports may already be in place, but for others the question becomes how do you achieve it? Determining the feasibility and longevity of that goal is a multi-step process. It requires older adults and family members to analyze the current and future potential living conditions to develop a road map for maintaining independence. Here are three things to consider when developing an aging in place plan:


If you are considering aging in place, a logical first consideration is whether your existing home is, or can be, reasonably modified to support your life as an older adult. Can you live on one level of the home? Can handrails, a stair glide, or ramps be added? What is the potential cost of these modifications as well as altering bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms to make them accessible?

With planning, many modifications can be made to make your home suitable for aging in place. But in some cases, for a variety of reasons, that isn’t possible. In those instances, knowing well in advance that your current home is insufficient allows you to look at alternative living options.

Personal Affairs

Even if your current home is suitable, or can be modified for aging in place, you must then consider how your house and personal affairs will be maintained. Tasks you easily perform today, like mowing the lawn or cleaning, may need to be relinquished to service providers. But finding, scheduling, monitoring, and paying those providers takes effort. What happens when it becomes too difficult to find/schedule people to perform these services? Paying bills and keeping track of finances as mental sharpness falters could open you up, as a senior, to feeling overwhelmed, or worse, to scammers.

Then there is all the paperwork. Insurance management, balancing accounts, and preparing taxes. And beyond just completing all the necessary administrative tasks, having a system in place to easily access documents when you need them can become critically important.

Transportation is also a factor to consider. What happens when you are unable to drive? Who will take you to doctor’s appointments? Allow you to engage in social activities, or take you shopping? It’s important to lay out a plan for who you want to assist with these day-to-day responsibilities and identify when it is time to make the transition.


It’s no secret that, as you age, your care needs grow; doctor’s appointments, medication management, and navigating the health system. This is not just for the end of life. Even for healthy people, having a healthcare advocate is critical to receiving the best care. Your plan should include both who you would like to help you manage your personal care and who will assist you with your daily care.

Who will be responsible for assisting you with activities of daily living, which involve everything from the ability to maintain a healthy diet to being able to shower and dress yourself? You may have long term care insurance, but by the time you are ready to submit a claim, will you be able to complete the paperwork yourself?

While these questions may be difficult to imagine at the current stage in your life, they will become a reality at some point in the future.

The Spouse/Family/Friends Fallback Fallacy

For these three areas where you may require assistance, your confident answer to the question of “who will help” may be – “my spouse/partner, my kids, or my neighbors.” But what happens when you or your spouse/partner is unable to support the care you both need? Your kids may not always live nearby and/or they may not be in a position to help either due to their career or family demands. And yes, they may be able to drop everything in a critical situation, but every day? Most likely that is an unrealistic expectation. Likewise, neighbors may be a good backup, but they too have their own lives, families, and priorities.

Your successful aging in place plan involves being reasonable about what role your spouse, family and friends will play over the long haul. And having a contingency plan for when your spouse/kids/neighbors are no longer able to assist.

While no one wants to think about physical decline at this level, if aging in place is a goal, identifying when it becomes necessary to bring in help, and who that help will be before a critical situation arises, will allow you to ensure your wishes can be realized.

What happens if it is no longer possible to remain at home?

Some seniors will be able to create a living situation and have the luxury of good health and personal and financial support where they can spend all their lives aging in place. For others, there may be a point that staying at home becomes untenable and/or unsafe. Making living decisions at that critical moment can often be too late to accommodate your wishes.

Many continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) have waitlists and/or require residents to have a certain level of physical or cognitive function to move in. If you do not meet these standards, assisted living or skilled nursing facilities may be your only option. Rooms in those facilities may also be in short supply and/or may be cost prohibitive or provide less-than-ideal conditions.

Having a well-defined aging in place plan and communicating this to the person(s) that you have chosen to help you can ensure your desires are met.

Bottom Line

The answers and solutions to all the above will vary by individual based on your personal preferences, health needs, financial situation, and available support. But the one common denominator to success is thinking ahead. That’s where we can help. As Certified Aging In Place Specialists, we will:

Assess your home for the physical feasibility of aging in place.

Advise on needed home modifications and the associated financial costs.

Partner with you to create an individualized plan for future living including:

    • Who will manage administrative affairs?
    • Who will manage personal and medical care?
    • Where to live if staying at home is not feasible?
    • When to execute the plan?

Empower yourself to maintain your independence and create a plan before a crisis! Call us and let us help!