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More than one fifth of the people in Switzerland are 65 years old or older. By 2035, their share is expected to rise to around one third. Most of them would prefer to grow old in their own four walls. Especially if they own the house or the apartement. This has emotional reasons, for example memories of their children who grew up in the house, and rational reasons, because owning is cheaper than renting or a place in a retirement centre or nursing home.
At some point, the moment will come when you should start thinking about housing in old age. Sooner is better than too late. If you plan ahead, already when you buy, otherwise from the age of 50 or more, as soon as the children leave home and you live alone or with your partner in a house that is too big. If you don't want to sell and move into a smaller house or flat because you will work until retirement, your friends live in the neighbourhood or you are well integrated in the community, there are basically three options for living in old age:
Regardless of whether you choose variant 1, 2 or 3, you should sooner or later convert your house to make it suitable for old age or, as a first step, convert it to make it barrier-free. These initial measures for living in old age are relatively simple and cost little.
It makes sense to plan living in old age with a specialist. Every canton has an advisory centre for barrier-free construction. There you can get information and comprehensive advice on desirable and necessary measures. The aim of the advice and measures is to convert the house or the apartement simply and, if possible, without great additional costs, to make it suitable for the elderly and to make it barrier-free.
If you know at an early stage that you want to renovate your home to make it suitable for old age, it is worthwhile to implement the larger and more expensive measures before you retire. You can deduct value-preserving renovations from your taxable income. Because your salary is higher than your pension, you can save more tax with renovation work before retirement than after retirement. In addition, for tax reasons you should consider spreading the renovation over several years to break the progression and optimise your tax burden. The bottom line is that you can save a lot of money if you plan housing in old age with foresight and perhaps even combine it with other renovation measures.
The measures depend on you and your partner. We all get older and frail, some more, some less. Vision deteriorates, mobility decreases, a simple fall can fundamentally change your life and severely limit you. The greater the risk of falling, for example, the more sensible conversion measures are for living in old age:
If you convert your house to suit your age, you can live in your own four walls for longer. You could go one step further and reduce your ancillary costs, especially for electricity, in the long term. This makes sense because you will have to manage with less money after retirement than before. In addition, you can also deduct energy renovation measures from your taxable income and thus save money. Three possible measures:
If you want to convert your house to make it suitable for the elderly and not just make it barrier-free, you should plan the measures for living in old age with professionals. Talk to someone from the advice centre for barrier-free living in your canton and then to a craftsman from your region. For example, a carpenter or a plumber if you want to convert your kitchen or bathroom to make it accessible for the elderly.