Vulnerability preparation is one of the most important and least popular parts of financial planning. The recent trauma of a neighbor provides a clear example of this challenge. He is in his mid 80s and has some underlying health problems.
Our neighbor lives in a second storey condominium with an exterior staircase as an access. The stairs end on a narrow deck, with the right hand side leading to the house. An overhang prevents the screen door from opening fully.
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When he had a stroke, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) had to remove the screen door to get the stretcher out. Other than restricted access, the interior of her home is not set up for a nulliparous octogenarian. Bathrooms are small, and hallways and doors are narrow. Someone in a wheelchair or using a walker will struggle with basic daily activities.
Aging in place can be cost-effective, but it requires good financial planning.
Most of the houses in our city are not built for people with disabilities. My parents stayed with us for the last decade of their lives, and we needed to make modifications to our house to accommodate them.
My father had heart and lung disease, the result of 40 years of smoking. In his final years, he used a walker and was on oxygen. We have installed safety bars in the bathroom, and a stair lift To help him reach the bedroom on the second floor.
My mother experienced a rapid decline from B-cell lymphoma due to a brain tumor. The tumor covered the left side of his body. She went from walking normally to a wheelchair in about three months.
90% of people want to grow old in their own home — what is the real cost of doing so?
Five years after my father’s death he had an illness, and we removed the ladder. We quickly made it back inside. We also built a large deck and ramp from the front door, and removed the doors to his bathroom. Eventually, we put a hospital bed in his room. For the past few months, she required round the clock care.
As challenging as these experiences were, we were lucky. My wife is an excellent nurse – well trained, experienced and most caring person I know. He took the lead and made sure my parents were well taken care of.
We got a lot of help. My brothers and their wives, our children and our nieces and nephews all helped. My mother-in-law was a retired nurse, and she worked as well. My mother worked in the medical field and had close friends who were nurses. His willingness to help was amazing and made our lives easier during this period.
Even after so much help, caring for a loved one who was suffering from a serious illness was a big challenge. As we age, it is important to anticipate our housing needs and desires and develop a plan that accommodates future vulnerabilities.
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A good friend and former colleague set a good example of clear planning. He is unmarried and in his mid 70s. In his late 40s, he bought a carriage home with a first floor living and an easy entrance. The exterior maintenance is taken care of by its homeowners association. He will love this home until he can take care of himself.
For that possibility, he researched and found a staged senior living near his siblings, nieces and nephews. They make a deposit and are guaranteed a certain position within a few months of the request. When he feels he can no longer take care of his home or himself, he will notify the facility and initiate the transition.
Many retirees view retirement as an opportunity to try a new lifestyle or a new location. My wife and I recently sold our primary home and were taken For our beach house. Now, we are thinking about its design.
It is the first floor of a two-storey condominium building. But “first floor” is a misnomer. To meet flood concerns, the first floor is eight steps above ground level at the front and six steps above the side entrance. We couldn’t bring a wheelchair into our house except to be carried up the stairs.
Many local homes have retrofitted elevators in their homes. A friend’s neighbor installed one to accommodate a disabled child. He installed a free-standing tower containing an elevator at the rear of the house, with small bridges on each level.
The interior of our house consists of two levels. The main living area at the front of the house has a living room, dining room and kitchen. The rear half is five steps up and contains the bedrooms and bathrooms.
We are planning to renovate our bathroom by enlarging the shower, widening the shower entrance and adding a grab bar. We needed to see if the bathroom could have a wider entrance, perhaps by installing a pocket door.
If you choose by age, take a realistic look around and decide what needs to be changed. with a minor modifications, you can often stay at home for many years. Revise as soon as possible. You don’t want to wait until the ambulance is on its way to realize you can get into the house.
This column first appeared on humble dollar, it is republished with permission,
Richard Connor is a semi-retired aerospace engineer with a keen interest in finance. He enjoys a wide variety of other interests including grandchildren, space, sports, travel, winemaking, and reading. follow rick on twitter @RConnor609 and check before material,