When it comes to getting older, there is a lot that can change. Seniors find themselves worried about impending medical issues, saving enough for their retirement, and in many cases, being able to remain in their own homes as they get older. As the life expectancy for Canadians rises, the need for a greater focus on supporting senior Canadians has come into the limelight. A national survey by March of Dimes Canada showed that an overwhelming 78 percent of Canadians want to age in place or remain in their current homes. Unfortunately, only 26 percent of them said they thought they would be able to do so. If you are one of the millions hoping to age in place (or a concerned loved one), preparation is key. Planning ahead to meet your needs in older years and ensuring you have access to the right health/safety needs is the best way to give yourself a chance to age in place in your home.
Aging In Place Will Rely On Your Budget
While they may seem completely unrelated, your budget and financial ability highly impact whether you can age in place. In a recent survey by The National Institute of Aging and Telus Health, it was revealed that almost 100 percent of Canadians aged 65 and older plan on supporting themselves to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
To do so, many seniors will need to make modifications to their homes. For instance, according to Ryan Johnson of Alair Homes in Ontario, there has been a significant increase in retired Canadians who are turning cottages into permanent homes. Another trend has been the construction of master bedrooms and bathrooms on the main floor to help with accessibility. However, those essential accessibility changes for seniors at home often come at a cost. The cost of widening doorways can be between $300-$2,500 alone. If you have a bigger budget, you may be able to make more extensive modifications including the addition of smart technology to support aging at home.
Tap Into Federal Or State Support To Mitigate The Financial Sting
A March of Dimes study also found that two-thirds of Canadians believe that these home modifications should be publicly funded. While some of the financial responsibility does lie with the consumer, there is financial assistance available if you are worried about the cost of aging in place. On a federal level, Canadians can access tax credits including the disability tax credit which provides a maximum credit amount of $8,662.
There is also the Seniors Safe at Home Program, a grant for those aged 60 or older with an annual income of $50,000 or less and need to make home modifications to help them stay in their homes independently and safely. In Quebec, seniors can also apply for the Independent Living Tax Credit for Seniors, a 20 percent refundable tax credit on eligible accessibility fixtures in the home.
Map Out An Aging In Place Plan Ahead Of Time
Drafting an Aging In Place plan allows you to be proactive, maintain control, and be prepared for the future- all things that are needed to age in place successfully. Ideally, your aging-in-place plan should cover all aspects of your life including your home, your finances, and your health. However, it should also be highly personalized and tailored to what is more important to you. The Aging In Place Toolkit is a great place to start and provides resources on important issues facing seniors aging at home such as strategies to prevent falls for seniors. It also helps to discuss this plan with your loved ones.
It is becoming undeniable clear: seniors want to stay in their homes as long as possible. Whether that is possible will depend on individual circumstances and preparations leading up to that time. What is certain, however, is that with the right tools and strategies early on, you could maximize your chances.