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Why are Older Americans Choosing to Age in Place?

Serving Clients in the Gilbert, Arizona Area

Why are Older Americans Choosing to Age in Place?
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Discover the impact of aging in place on estate planning and elder law strategies, highlighting the need for proactive legal guidance as older Americans choose to remain in their homes.

The trend of aging in place, where older Americans opt to remain in their current homes as they grow older, is gaining significant traction. However, what’s driving this decision? A Housing Wire article titled, “Majority of older homeowners plan to stay in their home as they age”, cited  Redfin’s survey, and a staggering 78% of homeowners aged 60 and above plan to remain in their homes as they age. This inclination is influenced by various factors, including financial incentives, emotional attachment to their homes and a desire for familiar surroundings.

Many older Americans find it advantageous financially to age in place. Many baby boomers have no mortgage or are enjoying low mortgage interest rates, so the financial rationale for moving becomes less compelling. Moving to a new home could result in significantly higher monthly payments.

What are Important Considerations for Aging in Place Successfully?

As older Americans increasingly choose to age in place and remain in their homes, it’s essential to consider how their current home will suit them as their physical mobility declines. The decision to stay in one’s home has far-reaching consequences beyond housing preferences, impacting healthcare, personal safety and financial considerations.

Assisted living facilities and other long-term care centers are usually far more expensive than living at home and getting a little help with tasks, like yard work and house cleaning. Of course, if you have significant medical needs, aging in place might not be an appropriate option, especially if your home is not accessible on a single level or for wheelchairs or other assistive mobility devices. You and your doctor should talk about your needs and options.

Can Your House Accommodate Your Needs as You Age?

With intelligent design features, you can make your home safe and comfortable for aging in place. With the right information and professionals, you can create a beautiful yet functional space for your golden years. Do not assume you will have to relocate just because you reach a certain age.

New Construction or Retrofit Your Existing Home?

If you have a much larger house than you need and your children have grown up and moved away, you might save yourself a lot of money by selling that home and having a house built that incorporates all the features you want for aging in place. Your golden years home should only have the square footage you need daily for it to be cost-effective and something you can maintain.

Depending on the circumstances, it might be less expensive to sell your existing house and have a smaller one built rather than make extensive modifications to an older home so that you can age in place.

What Accessibility Features Should You Consider If Remodeling to Age in Place?

Whether you are having a new, smaller house built or retrofitting your existing home, you should discuss these essential features with your contractor:

  • Entries should not have steps. If you become less mobile, multiple levels will be challenging to navigate, and steps are a tripping hazard.
  • Stairs can be dangerous, especially if you use a cane or walker or take medications that can affect your balance. You should have a one-story house with no second floor and no basement.
  • Your faucets and door handles should be levers, not knobs. It can be hard to grip and turn knobs, particularly with arthritis or weakness of the hands.
  • All interior and exterior doorways should be at least 36 inches wide, and hallways should be 48 inches wide. A wheelchair cannot pass through a narrow door or hallway.
  • Make sure you can reach all the power outlets and switches from a sitting and standing height.
  • Talk with your contractor about the recommended counter height for your situation.
  • A sink of a lower height in the kitchen and bathroom can make many tasks easier and safer. A 30-inch height with open space under the sink is ideal.
  • Your shower should have a no-step entry.
  • Make sure your contractor uses the Aging-in-Place Remodeling Checklist of the National Association of Home Builders.


If you’re considering aging in place and have questions about ensuring that you do not exhaust your finances, our experienced elder law team can provide personalized guidance and support to help you navigate the complexities of housing accommodations. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards securing your legacy.

Key Aging in Place Takeaways:

  • The Trend: Aging in place is growing among older Americans, driven by financial incentives and emotional attachment to their homes.
  • The Decision: To age in place has significant implications for one’s personal safety and financial well-being. Seniors should carefully consider the cost of remodeling their current home to accommodate aging needs.
  • The Strategies: When considering remodeling, work with professionals and recommended strategies to ensure that accessibility needs are met.

Proactive planning is essential for individuals considering aging in place. Work with an experienced elder law attorney to effectively navigate complex financial and accommodation for aging matters.

To learn more about estate planning in the East Valley, Gilbert, Mesa and Queen Creek, schedule your free consultation with Attorney Jake Carlson by using one of the links above.

References: HousingWire (April 2, 2024) Majority of older homeowners plan to stay in their home as they age

National Association of Home Builders “Aging-In-Place Remodeling Checklist”