89% of Americans over age 50 years wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible. The choice to age in place or move to institutional care is complex and personal.  It is a decision that hinges on the amount of health care needed, the availability of family assistance and economic factors.  People also need help deciding if they should sell investment properties to help with their expenses. Some are living on the income from those investments and do not know that hey have other options that could provide them the same amount of income without the stress of property management.

One reason most older adults choose to age in place for as long as they are able is simply because it is the most affordable option.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 21% of people aged 65 to 74 and 18% of those aged 74 to 84 own their homes outright and longer have mortgage expenses.  Their homes tend to be older and less likely to be updated in ways that would accommodate changing lifestyles.

.     Home technology professionals and interior designers can provide estimates on upgrades such as security systems, monitoring cameras, lighting functionality, easy-to-open doors, drawers, hardware, microwaves and other appliances. They may also consider lowering countertops or cabinets, and making hallways wider.
.     Lighting is one of the most immediate ways to deter burglars and this appeals to anyone who wants to protect their home and family.  Touch one button to turn exterior lights on to scare away intruders.  Lighting design and ease of function is important to everyone.  The elderly and the young benefit from pathway lighting.
.     Bear in mind the elderly have vastly different sleeping patterns, getting up several times during the night and may need pathway or hallway lighting to get to the kitchen or bathroom.  Elderly or a small child can benefit from a press button to activate such lighting.
.    Security cameras can be used to monitor the nursery, play areas or the quarters of an elderly parent.  Cameras can be used to see who is approaching the property and to monitor the interior and exterior of the house.
.     When we meet with clients regarding the sale of their home or their investment properties, it is important for us to know their clear objective.  Examples are if they need to defer capital gains taxes or if they have heirs in a trust. When we consult with them about selling their home, it is important for us to know how long they plan to be in their home.  Selling a property is not always the best option.  We are here to let our clients know what their options are and to help facilitate what is in the best interest of our client and good constructive advice is always helpful to support the questions of those wishing to age in place.

Michele Brown is an international, national and local award-winning Realtor and Executive Director of Keller Williams Luxury International Division (www.realestateprofessionalsinternational.com).