Aging-in-Place Advice for Seniors Looking for a New Home
If you’re planning a move to sunny St. Petersburg for your retirement, you are in luck. The area is one of the best in the nation for fun-loving seniors, and it boasts access to world-class beaches and an active senior center where you are sure to meet plenty of like-minded individuals. To top it off, St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas remain reasonably affordable. When mixed with year-round warm weather, a move to this bayside paradise may be just what the doctor ordered for a long and joyful retirement.
Assisted Living or Aging in Place?
Before you pack your bags, put some thought into where you want to live, and whether or not you have health conditions that might prevent you from safely inhabiting a single-family home. St. Petersburg is home to many wonderful assisted living facilities that can help you hold onto your independence without the responsibility of lawn care, transportation, cooking, or home maintenance. Plan to come to town and tour a few different campuses, keeping in mind that prices range from $1,500 to $11,430 per month. A higher cost, however, does not necessarily mean that it’s a better option, so take a look at assisted living centers in different price brackets. Even lower-cost facilities may offer amenities such as a fully staffed activity center, on-site beauty services, and pre-planned shopping excursions. When you find one that you like, ask about their waiting list and if they have a deposit or pre-pay option.
If you’ve evaluated your situation and decided that you prefer your own space, sit down with your real estate agent to discuss your needs. You might be in perfect health today, but that can change quickly. A few smart choices now can help you remain comfortable for the long haul even if you develop arthritis, cognitive decline, or physical impairments that inhibit your mobility.
Look for a home that has wider-than-standard doorways. Ideally, you’ll want interior and exterior doors that are at least 32 inches wide; according to Karman Health, this is the minimum comfortable opening for a wheelchair. At this width, you also will not have to worry about whether or not a walker will be usable within the home.
The kitchen and bathroom are two areas that you should scrutinize very carefully. It will likely be difficult to find a house with lower countertops, which can come in handy if you do wind up using a wheelchair, but a few other features, such as task lighting under the cabinets and a large bathroom, should be readily available. Your new home should also have consistent flooring from room to room. Even if the flooring is a different material, it should be a seamless transition so that you do not trip or lose your footing walking throughout the house.
More than just the setup of your new house, you have to consider its location. Fortunately, St. Petersburg is set up with seniors in mind. Public transportation is easy to come by, particularly if you can find a home near a bus or trolley route.
Access to quality health care is also a priority. St. Petersburg is home to more than two dozen geriatric specialists, a free clinic, a fully accredited hospital, and a state-of-the-art medical center that offers everything from emergency trauma treatment and geriatric services to urology and cardiovascular care.
No matter which living arrangement you choose, you can’t beat St. Petersburg. However, remember, there are pros and cons to each, and you will be much better off now and in the future if you take the time to evaluate yourself before making a decision.
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