You probably consider living out your golden years in your home or aging in place as an ideal choice as you age. After all, your home is filled with a lifetime’s worth of priceless memories and has significant sentimental value. But before you begin planning how you might age effectively in the comfort of your own home, it’s crucial that you completely comprehend what it means to age in place and determine whether it’s the best option for you.
So in this article, we’ll equip you with everything you need to know, including its benefits, drawbacks, considerations, and resources that may be of use to you as you age in place.
What Is Aging In Place?
Most people believe that “aging in place” refers to those 55 and older continuing to live in their homes as they age rather than selling and moving into a senior living facility.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as:
“the ability to live safely, independently, and comfortably in one’s own home and community, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
Currently, AARP presents the clearest definition of aging in place as staying in one’s current home forever or for as long as possible.
The Pros and Cons
While staying at home has some obvious pros, there are also several challenges to aging in place that might prevent older adults from being as healthy and safe as possible.
So, here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of aging in place.
Pros of Aging in Place:
- Cost Efficient. Depending on your present living situation, it is cost-effective. The price will be lower if the house is paid for and carefully maintained. It can be simple to stay put if the utility and maintenance fees are affordable regularly. Of course, other aspects that affect monthly living costs should be considered, including medical care requirements, physical health or disabilities, mobility problems, and the age and condition of any pets.
- Familiarity. For many older adults, familiarity with the neighborhood and its surroundings might be crucial. Most people who have lived in residence for a long time have gotten to know their neighbors well as well as the proprietors of the nearby shops. Living in these comfortable, familiar surroundings gives elders a sense of security and comfort, which is a crucial advantage.
- Reduced sense of isolation. When elders relocate to a new home, their sensation of isolation can be significantly reduced if neighbors, friends, and relatives are close by. Of course, this “advantage” of aging in place is no longer applicable if neighbors they have known for years move away or if their acquaintances pass away or relocate as well. Then it might be time to consider relocating to a senior living facility with more social activities.
- Personalized home modifications to make the home safer. Adding grab bars, stove safety devices, stair treads, and other improvements can make your home safer, simpler to handle, and more comfortable if the house is paid for and there is enough money available.
- Psychologically beneficial. There’s no denying that moving generates tension and worry for most people, regardless of age. When you are an older adult, this is further exacerbated. Change is challenging, and it becomes much more so as you age. Staying put in a familiar and comfortable environment contributes significantly to mental calm and high quality of life.
Cons of Aging in Place:
- Expensive cost of extensive care. If your senior loved one needs round-the-clock care, staying at home may be too challenging (and expensive), especially if they require more care than one person. The choice to stay at home is no longer an option if any level of care is required and the cost of that level of care is too high.
- Unable to afford necessary home modifications for safety. If the house cannot be made senior-friendly, it might not be a secure place for aging.
- Home is too far away from family and friends. The goal of getting older and being surrounded by the love and support that one can receive from adult children, other families, and friends is defeated if the residence is far from them. Many elderly persons experience loneliness and may go days without speaking to anyone. This kind of solitude can swiftly result in melancholy, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. According to a survey, two hundred twenty-five thousand older individuals in England reported speaking to nobody most weeks.
- Home maintenance is too much. Staying in their existing house might not be the greatest choice for an older homeowner whose finances make it impossible to employ help with transportation, homemaker services, or yard labor and lawn care. Additionally, when elders underestimate their capacity for house maintenance, the risk of falls rises.
- Issues with cognitive decline. It is risky and not advised to stay at home unattended if there are symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Not meeting nutrition needs. It is frequently simpler when cooking for one, buying a prepared meal, or eating something simple, like cereal. However, this is not a healthy diet. Additionally, some older adults suffering from cognitive loss may not be aware that they haven’t eaten anything—let alone a good meal—at all.
The Main Value Of Aging In Place
With all of its benefits, aging in place may seem like the best option, but what makes it truly worthwhile to consider is the value it may offer your life as you get older.
Maintaining a sense of independence is important for many people and helps older adults live better. As they can keep living in their familiar surroundings, older persons who age in place can maintain a high level of control over their life. People accustomed to buying food, toiletries, and clothing in their local communities find comfort in independently taking care of these things. Their quality of life could be enhanced by their conviction that they can carry on without constant assistance.
In conclusion, aging in place can increase life satisfaction, quality of life, and self-esteem—all of which are necessary to stay content, healthy, and active long into old age.
The Common Reasons Why Seniors Choose To Age In Place
According to the AARP, around 90 percent of adults aged 65 and above want to remain in their current homes as they grow older.
This number can make you wonder what makes older adults like to age in place. So here are some of the most common reasons why seniors choose to age in place:
To Have a Sense of Connection
Frequent loss is a common challenge of the golden years. Aging folks must deal with their death and the passing of friends and partners. Living in a familiar setting can make coping with these losses easier. Seniors may discover that they have something positive to grasp onto in houses that are full of happy memories.
They Value Their Independence
The desire to age in place is normal because everyone wants to feel autonomous. Older people enjoy having established routines and norms in their homes. For many seniors, living with someone else sometimes means adjusting to unfamiliar environments and lifestyles.
They Are Uncomfortable With the Change
Most seniors prefer constancy, so disruptions or significant changes to their routines or surroundings can be more than just unsettling—they may even be frightening. Having a constant home is essential for preserving the peace of mind when life is full of numerous unexpected changes. As life grows more difficult, it becomes increasingly necessary for elders to view their houses as their particular havens.
They Do Not Want To Be A Burden
Most older adults are afraid to demand too much of their loved ones. Living at home allows your loved one to keep a sense of independence and prevents them from becoming a burden. Although family members who provide care may be more than happy to open their homes, maintaining seniors’ status as the head of their households can give them the pride and self-assurance they need.
Because The Right Resources Are Available
Smart seniors are aware that aging in place is best done now. Aging folks can rely on various services and resources to satisfy their fundamental needs. There is a workable, inexpensive answer for almost every requirement that may emerge, including home care providers, senior transportation services, meal delivery services, and more.
Things To Consider If You Want To Age In Place
Choosing to age in place at home can bring challenges for family members, caregivers, and, most importantly, seniors themselves. Aging in place involves carefully considering several issues and comparing your options to decide what is best for you, your loved ones, and your house. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider whether aging in place is the best option for you and those you may impact before making it.
Making a strategy for how you’ll successfully age in place should be your next step once you’ve determined that it’s best for you and your family to age in place. This is significant since getting ready to age in place at home is an essential step in the process. Several home adjustments must be made and necessities must be purchased to ensure your safety and comfort, which can take some time. Planning can make your transition to aging in place easier and more seamless, or it may have the opposite effect when not done thoroughly.
Numerous studies have revealed that elderly Americans strongly favor staying in their homes as they age. However, aging in place may necessitate certain compromises. If you wish to age in place, there are several financial factors to consider, including maintenance and repair costs, the price of any necessary safety upgrades, the average cost of living in your neighborhood and what financial resources are available to you.
Another crucial component of planning is thinking through your payment options for the assistance you will require and planning for your finances. Some items you want could be very expensive. Some people might be at liberty. Therefore, you must be informed of the costs associated with your decision to age in place ways you may cover them.
As you age, your body undergoes many changes that may limit most of your ability to do your usual routine. Hence, you might need more support during this stage of your life in every aspect, particularly if you want to age in place. A support system from your family, friends and community provides a social network, helps improve one’s health, and can even extend your life compared to older adults without friends or family.
So it is important to check the support systems available to you so you’ll know where to get the help you need, whether financially, physically, or emotionally.
The Best Aging in Place Resources for Seniors
Living a healthy, balanced life at home with dignity is possible thanks to the many services and programs specifically designed to assist seniors. Knowing what programs, resources, and benefits are available to help you live your best life is crucial if you intend to age in place, even independently.
So here are some of the best resources available for professional, comprehensive, senior-oriented organizations:
The National Council on Aging collaborates with non-profit groups, governments, and companies to offer community activities and services. It is renowned as a trusted association committed to assisting adults aged 60 and over and a respected national leader. This is an excellent site to learn about senior programs that help promote financial stability and healthy aging.
The mission of the AARP, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization, is to enhance the quality of life for persons 50 and older. On this website, seniors can find useful information about healthy living, senior discounts, products, and senior-focused news. The AARP Foundation is another option.
The AARP Foundation is an organization connected to AARP that helps low-income seniors obtain essentials, including wholesome food, affordable housing, a reliable income, and social integration. Volunteers, organizations, and legal advocates get together to develop practical answers for older persons who might be struggling.
Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) provide and coordinate all the different types of care that an older adult living at home might require, including medical care, personal care, rehabilitation, social interaction, medication, and transportation. This helps people who are 55 years of age or older.
Seniors can benefit greatly from Eldercare Locator. It assists in locating neighborhood resources available to seniors, such as legal and financial support, caregiving services, home repair and modification, transportation, and more. It is a free national service of the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) and a National Association of Area Agencies on Aging project.
A network of more than 620 organizations called Area Agencies on Aging provides services to local elders (60+) across America. Although a handful of the agencies provide services statewide, most focus on a particular geographic region that includes several nearby counties. Each Area Agency on Aging offers helpful advice and assistance with senior-friendly programs.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) under the National Institute of Health is actively committed to studying aging and the health and well-being of senior citizens.
The NIA is a crucial source of information on senior health issues and provides relevant news and information on the causes, effects, and nature of aging, as well as diseases and conditions that are linked to getting older.
A well-known feeding program in America is called Meals on Wheels. It runs more than 5,000 locally administered programs independently in almost every municipality. Every community’s Meals on Wheels program is managed under the requirements and resources of that community, but all programs are committed to and focused on giving seniors nourishing and healthful meals in their homes.
Among the services offered by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. This website offers links to useful resources for seniors, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, support groups, and websites linked to health.
The Guide to Long-Term Service and Supports can offer senior veterans living at home who have registered in the VHA health care system useful direction to resources and information regarding long-term care.
Their website investigates the different types of residential, community-based, and home care accessible to aging veterans. It offers details on the available services, useful resources, and advice on maintaining your health as you age.
Find competent local services and specialists who can assist you in modifying and renovating your house by using the National Directory of Home Modification and Repair Resources. Seniors aging at home eventually need to make modifications to provide better mobility and access to maintain a practical and secure home environment.
As more Americans approach retirement age, they are debating where to live as they become older, and the vast majority of senior citizens have a strong desire to age in place or spend their golden years in the comfort of their own homes, independently.
Aging in place is the phenomenon of older persons who don’t relocate or enter institutions as they get older but instead stay in their homes and communities.
Because of its benefits, including the comfort of home, family, pets, community involvement, cost-effectiveness, and the chance to keep independence and dignity, more and more adults are considering aging in place.
However, it’s equally crucial to consider its drawbacks when determining whether it’s the best option for you, along with other aspects like its costs and the resources and support available.
Why should people create an aging-in-place plan now?
As we age, so do our surroundings and our homes. Creating a plan minimizes the stress of decisions when something unexpected happens.
Creating a roadmap and checklist can aid you in prioritizing what needs to be accomplished. Looking for available home care and community resources makes it easier to determine what’s right for you and your family.
When does aging in place make and not make sense?
Aging in place makes sense if homeowners can manage their homes sufficiently. This may mean on their own or with the help of family, friends, or even professionals.
On the other hand, it may not make sense if any aspects of one’s capability to stay in the home are compromised.
Is aging in place the best option for seniors?
No. There is no one-size-fits-all roadmap for aging. So aging in place may not always work for every older person, so it is important to carefully weigh out every factor when deciding whether aging in place is the right option for you.