Helping your parents choose the right home for retirement can save a lot of heartache and expense in the longer term. Here are our top tips about how to help them make the right choice.
1. Aim for low maintenance. Find a home that will suit the your parent’s transition from empty nesters, to retirees, to elderly and / or invalid. Look for functional spaces, and a property that will require less maintenance than the one they’ve already been taking care of for decades.
2. Assure adaptability. Your parents should enjoy a good decade or more of retirement before health issues may start to affect their daily activities. Properties should have wide doorways that can one day accommodate walkers or wheelchairs, spacious bathrooms and toilets to allow for mobility and the option to add handrails.
3. Assure ease of access. Single level properties are a good idea. Upper level apartments must have lift access, preferably directly from the car park. Stairs can be quite problematic for a variety of conditions and carrying shopping through multiple security doors in apartment complexes can become problematic in the longer term.
4. Consider flooring. Is it practical, non-slip and easy to keep clean?
5. Consider the health outlook. At some stage, your parents may no longer be able to take care of themselves – even with all the adaptions that can be made in their home. When this time comes, a retirement village or residential care home may be a better solution than living independently. If it’s possible that this may be sooner rather than later, it may be better that your parents stay in the current home for the time being.
6. Think about local safety. Some suburbs are safer than others so it’s important to ask neighbours questions about the local neighbourhood and security. You don’t want your parents to become distressed about marauding teenagers and petty crime. More information is available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics or the local police station.
Choosing the right home for your parents to retire to is a decision that brings unique challenges. However, with a little gentle guidance, you can help your parents to be aware of the features they’ll appreciate as they get older and that will save them from having to move again.