If your goal is to remain in your own home for as long as possible after retirement, there are steps you might want to consider taking now to help you safely and affordably realise your dream of aging in place.
Start creating your aging-in-place plan by asking yourself the following questions about your health, home, finances, social and community connections and safety1:
- What is my health like now, and what can I do to ensure that I am as healthy as possible as I age?
- Do I get enough physical activity?
- Do I eat a healthy diet with lots of whole foods and fresh fruits and vegetables?
- Do I schedule regular medical appointments to have my eyes, teeth, hearing and overall health monitored?
- If I smoke, do I have a plan to quit in the future?
- Do I know what screening tests are recommended for people my age, and have I talked to my doctor about them?
- Do I make my mental health a priority, and am I committed to taking steps to get help if I need it to manage my anxiety or other common mental illnesses
- Am I aware of electronic tools, apps and devices that can help me proactively monitor my own health and keep me active?
- Is my current home one that will still be safe and appropriate when I am older and possibly less mobile?
- Is my home close to friends, family members and services I will need and may require public transportation to get to?
- Will I be able to afford to hire people to do garage, garden and other home maintenance that I may not be able to do myself?
- Have I taken steps to improve the safety and security of my home, and am I committed to making whatever changes are necessary as I age (installing grab bars, additional hand rails, a stair lift, additional lighting, etc.)?
- Have I thought about moving to a smaller dwelling, or a single-story home or apartment, and perhaps reducing some of my belongings?
- Does my current financial situation allow for me to age in place for what could be 20-plus years post retirement?
- Do I have my financial affairs in order in the event that I am unable to look after them myself, and do I have a will, power of attorney and healthcare directive in place?
- Have I researched costs associated with hiring additional physical support or care providers if I need them?
- Do I know how much money I will need to sustain the lifestyle I want in the future?
- Have I considered ways I might be able to make additional money after retirement?
- Do I have community support and a plan to stay socially connected as I age?
- Do I have family or close friends nearby who can be a source of support, and am I willing to rely on them for help when I may need it?
- Have I developed social connections within my community, and considered things like joining clubs and doing volunteer work to help keep me active and social?
- Can I expand my social circle to include people who are younger than I am?
- Do I feel safe in my community and am I comfortable getting to and from the places I need to go?
In addition to local community and government programmes and resources, Foresters may be able to help members with plans to age in place.
To help with staying connected and moving forward with a meaningful purpose, Foresters members can apply for a Foresters Community Grant that allows them to plan a local activity for their family and other Foresters members, creating an exciting and very personal volunteer opportunity. Visit MyForesters.com for more information on applying for a Community Grant, and to find out about other local volunteer opportunities.
Members also have access to Lifelong Learning, an online learning library offering a huge selection of courses covering topics including computer skills, finance, health and wellness and writing. Visit MyForesters.com to learn more about Lifelong Learning.
Visit the Government of Canada for a complete aging-in-place checklist to help you plan for a safe and healthy post-retirement life in the comfort of your own home.