To maintain independent housing conditions in your third phase of life, it pays to think about the following considerations.
by Jürg Zulliger15 Aug 2017
An individual plan for the future: For some, it may be ideal to remain in their existing home – for example, a single-family house – and stay in an environment they know. Others prefer to move into senior-friendly housing after they go into retirement. It is important to them that they make the move while they are still in an active phase of their lives so that they don’t need to readjust later. What they decide depends mainly on whether they are seeking security and predictability or prefer to take things as they come.
Support in old age: Many people remain healthy and independent until very late in life. Statistically seen, from the age of 85 around three-quarters need assistance, for example for shopping or taking care of housekeeping. So it is important when planning to learn whether and to what extent home support services are available.
Social inclusion: Based on experience, many older people do not want to relinquish close ties with family, friends and neighbors. Give some thought to which social contacts are important to you and which housing situation covers this ideally.
Location and infrastructure: Older people generally prefer short distances to shops, the bank, the post office, etc. Leisure and cultural activities are just as important as are connections to public transportation. It is also advantageous if certain medical and outpatient services are in the vicinity (doctor, Spitex center).
Facilities: A residential building with steep stairs or a living space that is divided into three or four floors can be a serious hardship in old age. When walking and climbing stairs becomes difficult, you will appreciate having an elevator in the house and the most important living spaces on one floor – for example, in a condominium.
Surrounding area: Though some residential houses are equipped with an elevator, you can only access them by stairs. Make sure that you are also able to move about in the surrounding area without obstacles or restrictions.
Structural measures: Most older residential buildings are not equipped with age-appropriate facilities. However, some adjustments cost very little: additional handrails for stairs, barrier removal, and handles in the bathrooms. Customizing the kitchen so everything that is needed on a daily basis is always within easy reach is also not generally a problem.