Independence and Health Concerns: Not Mutually Exclusive!

I’ve devoted several blogs to ways to anticipate living arrangements that are “age ready,” from the installation of additional lighting and handrails to technological innovations that assist aging in place. Today, I’m starting a series on topics that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) calls Housing Decision Guides.

When Government is a Welcomed Partner

You might not have heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a U.S. government agency dedicated to making sure everyone is treated fairly by banks, lenders and other financial institutions. The CFPB implements and enforces Federal consumer financial law and ensures that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive. Its mission is to make consumer financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole. It protects consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and takes action against companies that break the law. It provides information, steps, and tools people can use to make smart financial decisions. These are folks giving us information we can trust! No hype. No subtle or not-so-subtle sales pitches. Just clearly stated facts needed for sound decision making.

Recently, the CFPB released four short, informative booklets covering topics of interest to older adults: making housing decisions when your health changes; leaving your home to children or heirs; making housing decisions after losing a spouse or partner; and using home equity to meet financial needs. Today, I’m going to delve into the first of these.

Independence Amid Health Changes

Changes in health are a part of growing older. But a significant change, expected or not, can have a dramatic impact on one’s ability to live without support and age in place. It’s important to research housing options that will not only provide you with any care you might need, but a factor of equal importance for most of us is our ability to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.

Consider such areas of need as medical or mobility support you might need, personal hygiene or other home care support for which you may need a helping hand, transportation needs, help managing your finances, and emotional support from friends and family members.

The CFPB booklet, Making Decisions When Your Health Changes, reviews options for each of these potential needs, giving the reader a complete picture, including how to access various services. It also lists home modifications that might be helpful for assuring a safe, age ready environment — useful information to have at hand even if your only immediate health problem is a broken leg. I’m thrilled to be promoting this series of booklets and sharing our Senior Housing Hunt branding on the materials.

Talk Early and Often

One of the most important things to do when considering housing options is to have a thorough discussion with trusted family and friends, not only to listen to their opinions, but to talk about the impact your health and housing change may have on them. If you know someone who has experienced a housing change because of a change in health, ask them about their experiences, too.

It’s important to discuss options and decisions with professionals as well, from financial experts to people knowledgeable in health care and home modification options. Finally, if you are considering relocating, visit several types of older adult communities to determine cost and if they meet your needs, and if you can envision yourself thriving there.

The final pages of the booklet list resources, from legal services to housing and financial assistance.

Whether modifying your home or your living arrangement, the goal as we age in place is to remain safe and independent for as long as possible. This blog and the CFPB booklets can provide starting points for thinking and planning full living in the Third Chapter of our lives.

Third Chapter Living celebrates, challenges, informs and promotes conversations about housing issues affecting the Baby Boomer Generation. Check out our website to learn more about our work on aging-in-place options. The author, Reese Fayde, is a dedicated problem solver and skills development coach. She’s passionate about working with change-makers — individuals committed to transforming the status quo, whether it’s in their industry, community, or organization.

6 Comments

  1. Sarah Lee on February 26, 2024 at 1:00 pm

    Hi Reese,
    I continue to enjoy your regular thoughts and comments. The affordability of senior housing is a big issue for many.
    Thank you again!
    Sarah Lee
    Common Place

  2. John Zeisel on February 26, 2024 at 2:50 pm

    Does the booklet on Changes as Health Needs Change include how to negotiate changes when faced with cognitive health changes? Even downsizing becomes more complicated when doing so becomes confusing in itself. Is this something others in your audience are interested in?

    • Reese Fayde on March 1, 2024 at 9:43 am

      John,

      Terrific reminder for all of us. Let’s figure out another opportunity to share resources like your books and non-profit, I’m Still Here.org, with this audience. Thanks!

  3. Sue Stockard on February 26, 2024 at 3:14 pm

    This is extremely helpful and relevant to discussions our community is engaged in right now.

  4. Karen Abrams on February 27, 2024 at 7:29 am

    Truly appreciate getting the valuable information in these newsletters!

    • Reese Fayde on March 1, 2024 at 9:49 am

      Karen,

      Thanks for the kind encouragement! I would love any suggested topics for future editions. Your work and leadership bring a rich perspective to the issues of aging in urban communities. Shoot me some questions I should explore.

      Thx, Reese

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