To help them navigate this new era and the growing pains that come with it, here are five tips from Jodi Olshevski, head of The Hartford Advance 50 Team, and Lisa Lobo, a Hartford consumer insurance specialist:1. Re-evaluate Your Home
Telling yourself that stairs are a form of exercise doesn't make walking them any easier. If you are downsizing to a smaller house or redoing your home, consider how flexible the space is and whether it can be adapted as you age.
Olshevski said that the National Association of Home Builders had nine recommendations, including having the master bedroom and bath be located on the first level. Other suggestions include lever styled door handles for easier use; an exterior that is low maintenance; a floor plan for the kitchen and dining room that is easily changeable.
"If you are renovating, maybe it won't cost more if you make the doorway wider," Olshevski told WalletPop in a telephone interview. "Make sure electrical outlets are a little higher above the floor because not everybody can comfortably bend down. Design things so if something does change in your ability or someone with mobility limitations is visiting, it makes like a lot easier."
2. Reconsider Your Homeowner's Insurance
Just as you're rethinking your space, dig out that insurance paperwork and take a close look at what you are insuring. Are your valuables still so valuable? When you downsized, did you take those items off your list? When you became an empty nester or retired, did you note that change to your insurer? A periodic tune-up of your homeowner's insurance can save you hundreds of dollars off your premiums.
3. Re-examine Your Auto Needs
With your kids in college and not driving a car, it's time to change your auto insurance coverage. The same goes if you are not driving every day to work because you are retiring or working part-time.
"Usage is commonly used to determine rate," Lobo explained to WalletPop in a telephone intereview. "It makes a difference in how much your premium is. If it's for pleasure, your premium will go down."
Another cost-saving measure is to take driving lessons again or get evaluated. Not only could it help boost your confidence about your driving, it can lower your auto insurance rate.
4. Take a Long-Term Look at Life Insurance
When you retire, you can no longer rely on your employer for life insurance coverage. So before that happens, research insurance policies and rates.
5. Have a Plan
A disaster plan that is. It's especially important when you're caring for a family member with a debilitating disease like Alzheimer's or dementia, said Olshevski. An unfamiliar environment can be devastating for them. Put together a list of what you need to take with you, especially medication. Iron out a plan in which you have a network of neighbors and relatives to rely on should there be an emergency.
In addition, build a support network that is outside your neighborhood, perhaps even your town or city, in case an evacuation is necessary.