Aging in place?

My standard response when people ask me how I like our new three story Victorian home, is “I love it! They will have to bury me in the backyard because I am never leaving.” And while I mean that now (well maybe not the part about burying me in the backyard), I wonder how I will feel as I get older. As the baby boom generation is aging, we have seen the development of universal design principles and “aging in place” is a desire for many people as they get older. I am nowhere near an expert on either topic, but I do see firsthand how aging affects our clients and their real estate needs.

Slowly, over time, the charm of the back stairway is replaced with the desire for first floor laundry and the love of the claw foot tub is replaced with the need for a walk in shower. And eventually the home you raised your children in, maybe isn’t the home you want to enjoy your retirement in. Some will choose to remodel, and doubtless the options will only continue to improve. Others will choose to downsize or move to a home that is better suited to their needs.

We typically meet with people when they are first considering putting their home on the market and downsizing. After going through our listing presentation and detailing the ways we will market their home and the steps we will take to walk them through the process, we turn our attention to where they want to live next. Sometimes it’s sunny Florida (and writing this on a cold January day, I can see the appeal), but a lot of time it’s a new home in the community they already live in. After all, that is where their friends, and if they are lucky, their family, are. “Aging in place” isn’t just about staying in your house, it’s also about staying in your community. Around here, some towns have more suitable housing options than others, so it’s not always feasible to find a home that meets all of your criteria, without leaving your zip code. As realtors, it bums us out if our clients can’t find a home where they want to live, and as a newly elected Town Board member I want to do my part over the next four years to help ensure that future development fills the void (at least in my little part of the world) that some of our clients have been noticing.

Since I have years before I will be considering retirement and I am pretty sure our kids aren’t leaving home anytime soon, I am optimistic that should I decide that I can’t live out my days in my drafty, but oh so pretty Victorian, there will be more options than there are now for where I live next.