Important Factors to Consider When Choosing to Age in Place

SmartLife Member Timothea Kirchner

Real estate experts through history have often used the cliché “location, location, location” when describing the three most important factors about a property’s value. But today, three more reasons should be added to that list: security, security, security.

You may think location is the most important factor in determining your next home, but peace of mind for your future should also weigh heavily in your decision. For individuals nearing retirement, this consideration of future security is especially true. Health issues and supportive care needs can easily wipe out hard-earned savings and other assets in a short period of time.

SmartLife Member Timothea Kirchner has a full, rich life. Semi-retired, Timi is a former teacher and county administrator. She does some consulting with governments and is also on the board of the Lancaster Downtowners, a network of people who share a common passion for downtown Lancaster. However, she recently moved out of Lancaster City to Landisville in order to be close to her son and his daughters, her granddaughters.

Though Timi’s first consideration in her move was location, she also was wise enough to know she needed a secure plan for her future. Timi remembers when her mother had a massive stroke and she and her siblings had to take care of her father and her mother who had done no pre-planning for such an event. “It was an awful experience for me and my siblings,” she recalls, “and I don’t want to be that memory for my granddaughters. I wanted a plan.”

Timi, who is single, met with her financial advisor for ideas. The advisor suggested that Timi join SmartLife VIA Willow Valley. With her SmartLife membership, if Timi would ever need supportive care, SmartLife will coordinate her needs. This is especially meaningful to Timi, who says, “I just want my son to be my son, not my caregiver.” She also says her son remembers when his grandparents were ill and the tremendous burden that put on his mother and his aunts and uncles. When Timi joined SmartLife, her son told her, “I can’t thank you enough.”

“SmartLife is a gift for him as well as for myself. I can really live life without having to worry. I have tremendous peace of mind,” Timi explains, reflecting on what her membership in the program means to her. “I feel like my parents are looking down on me, saying, ‘Good for you.’”