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There's no place like home, and retirees say they'll renovate in order to stay

Key Points
  • Remaining at home is the ideal way to live in retirement, say most people age 50 to 80 in a Retirement Living survey.
  • Failing health would push them into an assisted living facility, followed by losing the ability to drive.
  • In order to make aging in place possible, people said they’d turn to home modifications and technology.

Sun Belt states such as Florida or Arizona may beckon some people in retirement, but fewer than you'd think.

It turns out most people say they'd like to grow older at home, according to a study from Retirement Living, a website that aggregates retirement resources.

Moving to an assisted living facility is a last resort. Just 30 percent of people are willing to consider a retirement home.

Ariel Skelley | Getty Images


In 2016, Pew Research found similar numbers, though fewer people were willing to consider an assisted living facility – just 4 percent.

Most older adults want to age in place

The percentage of adults age 85 and older who live alone increased slightly between 1990 and 2014, to 40 percent from 37 percent. During that time, though, women age 65 to 84 became less likely to live alone.

Retirement Living polled more than 2,300 people age 50 to over 81 years old in September to find out how they plan on living as they age and how they'll meet the challenges that come with aging in place.

Home improvement

One key to aging in place: adapting the home.

Nearly 75 percent of respondents said they'd make some sort of modification to their bathroom, such as adding grab bars and nonslip mats, or a walk-in tub. About a third said they plan on exterior changes such as wheelchair ramps and improved lighting.

Technology can also make it easier to stay home. Online pharmacies and medical alert systems have been around a while, but ride-share apps and grocery or food delivery service offerings are increasingly common. More than half of the survey's respondents said they're likely to order prescriptions online, and more than a third said they'd order food and rides through an app such as Uber, Lyft, Peapod or UberEats.

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