Modern Ideas, Modern Living

Making the Best Choice

Where will you live next? Should you stay or should you go? One of the biggest issues people confront as they move toward retirement is where to live, or retirement lifestyle planning.
Should you remodel or renovate your home? Life transitions often create opportunities to enhance your home – empty nest, job changes, marriage, retirement – and all of these changes offer a chance to think about whether there's an optimal fit between your home and your lifestyle.
In conjunction with the MIT AgeLab, The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence® conducted research with people across the country and interviewed housing experts.
Based on the research, an action plan was developed. The Hartford’s free Modern Living, Modern Ideas guidebook can help you with the following four keys steps:

Survey: Assess the Fit Between Your Home and Your Lifestyle

  • What aspects of your lifestyle are important to you as you think about your home? Think about how you live in the space now and how you expect to do so in the future.
  • For example, do you now or will you in the future need a home office, do a lot of entertaining, or have any health conditions that could affect what kind of living space would be most convenient for you? As you contemplate a transition point in your life there's an opportunity to consider what you really need.

Think: Decide How and Where You Want to Live

  • In thinking about how and where you want to live, consider these "three R's”: relationships, region and resources.
  • Thinking about the important people in your life may help you decide how close you want to be to family and others you care about, and how far away from them you are willing to be. Family and grandchildren are often a key consideration.
  • There is great variety in where people prefer to live. City or country, seaside or mountain, cold weather or warm, seasons that change or not – the choices are almost endless.
  • Consider affordability, both now as well as in the long term. Think realistically about the cost of living in an area.

Explore: Consider Universal Design Options

  • Universal design creates spaces and products that are more comfortable, accessible and easy to use for people of any age, size or ability. Three words capture the spirit of spaces that have been built with universal design in mind: adaptable, easy and open.
  • The purpose of universal design is to make a room more flexible and functional for all. Convenient, comfortable and safe can still be beautiful!

Some Examples of Universal Design

  • Large multipurpose rooms that offer greater flexibility and more room to get around for those who need it.
  • Plenty of lighting around entryways and throughout your entire home.
  • Large showers with a small curb or, preferably, no curb at all.
  • Pantry cabinets, which are long slender cabinets that pull-out on wheels

Plan: Create an Action Plan to Achieve Your Goals

Use these tools to help you make a plan and achieve your goals.
  • Complete the Your Priorities List A great way to use this worksheet is to complete it first yourself to clarify your preferences. Then ask your spouse, partner or others in your life to complete it as well. You can compare answers to see if you share a similar vision for the future or where you may need to discuss things further and/or negotiate.
  • Talk with significant others and loved ones. There are lots of ways to start a conversation. Conversation starters include talking about something you saw on a home improvement program, comparing your priorities or talking about something you saw while visiting other homes.
  • Use the Start List for Design Ideas to make choices for updating your home or buying a new one. Download and print this checklist of universal design elements to consider in a renovation or home purchase.
For more information on designing your home to be more comfortable, convenient and safe and for planning for the housing and lifestyle you want in the future, download our free Modern Ideas, Modern Living guidebook.