Living in high age Consider costs early on

You want to continue living in your own apartment in high age? Budget structural changes and external help in good time.

by Simon Bietenhader 24 Feb 2016


Many things change as you age, including your living arrangements. It’s never too early to start thinking about where and how you want to live and how to budget for your future housing needs.

Most people want to grow old at home. They would rather stay in a familiar environment, close to family and friends with greater day-to-day freedom. This may require investing in home alterations. Not every house or apartment is designed with a senior’s needs in mind. Certain criteria are must-haves: barrier-free access to the home, a ground-floor apartment or an elevator. Close proximity to shops and public transportation are also helpful if you no longer have a car.

Investments in your home

It often takes very little to “ageproof” a home. For example, you can move the bedroom closer to the bathroom in order to shorten nighttime trips to the toilet. Small comforts make life easier, too: a seat in the shower or handles in the bathroom and bedroom. Renters may benefit from buying their own washing machine. Expect much higher costs for major alterations such as installing a chair lift, widening doors or converting a bathroom. These expenses have to be promptly anticipated and budgeted.

Home care

As you age, you may need help looking after your household and medical needs. Luckily, you are spoilt for choice: Spitex, Meals on Wheels, Pro Senectute, neighborhood assistance, support with paperwork, et cetera. Health insurance will cover some of the costs of nursing and medical care if they are prescribed by a doctor. Household assistance can be financed through an additional insurance policy or supplementary AHV/IV benefits. Do you like cultivating relationships, have good organizational skills and accept help graciously? If so, living at home is an ideal solution for you.