08092011_Housing_article

Richard Hayman recently spent $120,000 and five-months remodeling his home in Potomac, Maryland. The project wasn’t about increasing the home’s aesthetic appeal or future resale value. Rather, the goal was to ensure Hayman and his wife could live comfortably in their house throughout retirement.

The 68-year-old and his wife, Carolyn, turned their original kitchen into a den that could someday accommodate a hospital bed; they also added a full bathroom to their first floor.

The couple wants to stay near their three children, seven grandchildren and lifelong friends. After crunching the numbers, Hayman believes the renovations were the least expensive way to meet those goals and still allow for a few weeks’ vacation now and then.

The Haymans are hardly the only boomers to redefine retirement and to make moves now so they have control over how they live out a twilight that may span 30 years or more. They’re deciding what lifestyle they want and making changes to get it in a much more decisive way than their parents did.

Related: The Boomer Housing Market for Boomer Retirees

The sheer number of boomers who are starting to think about their housing options in retirement is driving changes in the real estate and renovation market. The youngest of the 76 million boomers have begun turning 50 this year – and 10,000 boomers a day will turn 65 from now through 2030.

They’re not all looking for the same solutions, of course: While some want to stay put, others are ready for new experiences in their golden years. “It’s great that we have all these possibilities,” says David J. Ekerdt, director of the Gerontology Center and a sociology professor at the University of Kansas.

While some boomers still yearn for year-round sunshine, millions have no interest in the snowbird lifestyle or in moving too far from their longtime communities. “There’s still this misperception that older people will move to Florida or Arizona,” says Amy Levner, manager of livable communities for AARP.

Related: Young Boomers Buying Up Retirement Homes Early

More than 60 percent of baby boomers want their home in retirement to be in the state where they currently live, while a third want to live within 20 miles of their children or grandchildren, according to a 2012 study by Pulte Group.

Read more here from the Fiscal Times!