There are many options for housing as you get older. It is important to make sure that your housing choice suits your needs and abilities and enables you to feel comfortable in your home. You are in charge of deciding where you want to live, but you should consider what you will need in the future to make sure your home is the right fit for you.
Owning a home
You may decide that you want to stay in your own home as you get older. You may do this by staying in your current home or by moving to a home that is a better fit for you. It is important to consider what you will need in the future and to recognise whether your house can be adapted to fit your future needs. Staying put in your home can be beneficial because of your previously established social networks, community support, and recreational activities that can help you thrive, but it may also mean you need more assistance around the home. You can read about home adaptations, maintaining your home, and finding support on our Staying Put page.
You may decide to continue living independently but make the move to a more manageable home. Many older people decide to downsize to a more fitting house or to move closer to support and social interests. While moving can initially be stressful, this can make continuing to live independently easier. You can read more about moving in older age on our page here.
If you are building a new house or planning on renovating your current home, you should consider a design that will accommodate you in the future. The purpose of universal design is to allow the building to accommodate for people of all ages and abilities, with features such as grab bars in the bathroom, a level access shower, stepless entry into the home, and easy-to-use drawer handles and runners. Many features of universal design can be added to a current home and may make it easier for you to continue living independently for longer. You can read about universal design here.
If you decide to stay in your own home, it is important to keep up with any repairs or maintenance that needs to be done. Older people can face issues completing repairs and maintenance, but it is important to address smaller issues straight away, so they do not become bigger problems. You can find information on getting financial help, which tradespeople to contact, and what issues you should be looking out for on our Repairs and Maintenance page.
Some older people consider a reverse mortgage so they can continue living in their own home while supplementing their income. A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows you to borrow from the equity tied up in your home without having to sell it. This kind of loan can be repaid when you sell the property or when you pass away. You can read more about reverse mortgages here.
If you own a home, you may want to decide who will own your property after you pass away. It is a good idea to choose who receives your home in your Will so that your wishes are clear and binding. To learn more about Wills and how to make your own, visit our page here.
For some older people, the social environment and extra support offered in a retirement village will be the best option for their future. Retirement villages offer a community that is designed to cater for the needs and lifestyles of older people. They often offer units, villas, apartments, or serviced apartments, and give you the chance to live independently within the community or to receive extra help with cleaning and meal delivery. Choosing to move into a retirement village is a big decision, just like moving into any house. If you are considering moving into a retirement village, you should get independent legal advice to make sure you understand the agreements you are signing and what you are paying for. You can find more information on our Retirement village page.
If you think you may need more assistance every day, you may decide to move into residential care. This level of care covers rest home care, age-related hospital care, dementia care, and psychogeriatric care. If you live in a retirement village with higher levels of care available, you may be able to make arrangements to stay within your village. Moving into residential care will include signing admission agreements, care plans, and assigning an enduring power of attorney, so it is important to seek legal advice to make sure you understand what you are signing. Residential care can be paid for out of pocket or can be subsidised by the government depending on your assets and income. You can read about what care is available, how to pay for care, and what documentation you will need to sign on our Residential care page.
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