2.4 Housing

“Home is where the heart is!”

Pliny the Elder, Roman author, a naturalist and natural philosopher

How and where do you live now? Is this the right place for you in later life? Can you afford it? Is the effort for household and possibly garden well feasible? How is the infrastructure, do you always need a car or is there public transport? Are there shopping facilities, doctors and also leisure facilities nearby?

How and where to live is very important for well-being. Independence and self-determination, safety but also social relations and the quality of living are important factors when considering housing in later life.

Housing is connected with other domains like finances, social relations and health. It is a complex but very plannable category as many resources and a large variety of options are readily available.

  1. Start with thinking about how you imagine your ideal living situation in later life:
    • Are you still in your current apartment or house?
    • Do you live alone, with your partner, among friends?
    • How many rooms and square meters would you like to have?
    • What is important for you, a balcony, small garden, an additional room for a hobby, a large kitchen…?
    • Do you want to live near family?
    • In a more rural or more urban area?
  2. Then consider whether this is feasible and realistic, and what would you need to do to make your wish a reality.
    • Will you be able to financially and physically maintain your house or apartment?
    • How are your surroundings, do you have family and friends, medical but also shopping and leisure facilities nearby?
    • Would you have to do any remodeling like moving the bedroom from the upstairs to the downstairs?

In general, there are two options:

Stay in the home where you live in?

Check if adaptations are possible when needed:

  • How is the bathroom, is the entrance to the shower at ground level or at least low?
  • Can you get to all the utility items easily?
  • Are there stairs in the entrance or any other area? Is it possible to install a railing or a stair lift?

Can you get help with household, garden etc.?
Can you reach easily everything you need?

Or move?
  • Are there barrier-free apartments?
  • Are there special subsidies for senior housing?
  • Are there care services or offers of assisted living?
  • Which care homes are appropriate for you when needed?

With the growing population of active older people in all European societies, many new living concepts for the third and fourth live are being developed.

If you are not sure where to start, try to find an organization that consults on these matters.