In other parts of the United States, people may retire from the workforce and make haste for the suburbs, for Florida, or to their dream home in the country. In Boston, however, we know a good thing when we have it — that’s why many people choose to stay in the city proper during retirement.

According to the AARP’s Livability Index, Boston is in the top third of the country for quality and availability of healthcare. We also rank high for opportunities for community involvement, walkability, and transportation. Whether you’re a long-term resident or looking for a cultural climate in which to spend your golden years, Boston Beacon Hill offers the right combination of quiet neighborhoods, big-city culture, and excellent health care.

Retirement is a great time to think about whether you would like to age at home, and how to do it. There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding if you can stay in your current home as you get older, or if it would be wise to move now to a place that might be more accommodating. Check out our tips:

1. Don’t wait.

There are many downtown Boston condos on the  market (unfortunately not that many in Boston’s Beacon Hill) that can be comfortable and manageable for seniors and their caregivers in the long term. It’s tough, thinking about moving on top of dealing with the complications of aging can be overwhelming. Put off moving until it’s too difficult, and the result may be that you don’t get to live at home for as many years as you would like.

2. Go Big on affordability.

The great thing about retirement is that in a lot of ways, your needs are less. For most people, big life expenses are out of the way and it’s time to enjoy the simpler things. Before you jump online to look at new Boston Beacon Hill homes, speak to your financial adviser and Beacon Hill real estate agent to figure out how much you can afford. Keeping your mortgage manageable (if you still need a mortgage) will help you handle unforeseen expenses down the road.

3. Think about bedrooms and square footage.

The top challenge that many older folks find with staying at home is keeping up with their large houses. Not only is there more maintenance, but property taxes can go up and lead to unexpectedly high expenses. On the other hand, those who can afford it would be smart to find or stay a in a home that does have an extra bedroom, which can come in handy for kids or caregivers.

4. Adaptability is key.

Retirement can bring all kinds of unexpected surprises, from a newly discovered love for woodworking to the need to accommodate a walker or wheelchair. The perfect Beacon Hill condo to retire in is one that can fit with lifestyle adjustments. A set of stairs shouldn’t be out of the question, but do look at whether a ramp or lift can be installed – you’ll thank yourself later.

5. Relocate for your health.

Exercise is vital as we get older. Does your home allow you to get out and walk, preferably on a sidewalk? Surprisingly, some neighborhoods in downtown Boston lack this amenity, but not Beacon Hill. Think about environment, too. Maybe you didn’t have time to enjoy the backyard while you were working, but a small garden space can be a sanctuary now that you don’t have to go to the office. On the other hand, if your home is near a busy road, air and noise quality might be something to keep in mind.

 

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