It seems everyone wishes to remain in their own homes as they age (90+% of seniors respond with this preference on various surveys)–also known as “aging in place”. But, are there any downsides to aging in place? Are there times when moving to an assisted living facility might be a better choice?
As eldercare advisors to hundreds of families over the years, we of course believe this is an individualized decision with pros and cons depending on the case. But, it can be hard for elders or their family members to imagine what the cons might be to aging in place (as survey results clearly show). This also leads to promises like “Mom, I’ll never put you into a ‘home’.” Today, we’ll help present an overall picture of the pros and cons of aging in place. When you’re facing such decisions or even planning for the future, a personalized assessment is the best way to determine if the pros outweigh the cons for your family.
PROS: The Argument for Aging in Place
- Preference: Overall, this is the option most people prefer when looking into the future and it is associated with maximum independence/choice.
- Comfort: Familiar surroundings form a strong sense of attachment and can be an ideal place to live out your later years with the memories surrounding you.
- Individualized: Supportive home care can be brought in and tailored to your needs. Everything can be catered to you, from the foods you prefer to eat to the way you want your laundry done to the schedule you keep.
- Cost: When you need a little support to stay in your home, care and services can be brought in for relatively low cost. If you own your home, aging in place with home care can be very cost-effective.
- Routine: Aging-in-place means your lifelong routines and habits can be maintained, at least to a great extent. Typically, in a group setting such as assisted living there may be set routines and rules.
CONS: When Assisted Living or a Retirement Home Might Be Best
- Isolation: Elders can have a tendency to become isolated living alone if mobility or activity is limited. Some elders may blossom with the socialization and activities that the right retirement home provides.
- Home Maintenance: As you age, a home can become overwhelming to maintain and costs may even become an issue.
- Safety: A home can be full of fall hazards and other potential safety problems. It is essential to do a home safety assessment for proper aging in place and make necessary changes to ensure the home is safe and the resources are available to stay safe. Other safety issues you may not have thought about include scams (living in a retirement community does not make you immune to them, but scammers often target elders living alone).
- Cost: Depending on the level of care needed, the economies of scale in a group setting can make it more affordable. In comparing costs, the budget should include care costs, meals, household maintenance, utilities and other costs for both options (hint: we can help you create a budget and compare your choices, as well as finding hidden options you might not know about!).
So, is aging in place right for you? There are many more areas to explore to know what’s best in your situation. A lot of the factors that influence this decision are hugely personal. You’ll notice, for example, cost is listed under both options because the costs are very dependent upon the situation and needs. Even when the financial, medical, and care needs are identical, two different people may find resolution in differing options.
The families we work with often tell us what a relief it was to work through these decisions with the help of our care manager. The experienced professional offers not only wise counsel, but an independent assessment which helps everyone have a realistic picture of the situation. the care manager also helps the client make a dignified transition (whether to having help at home for the first time or to a physical move).
Contact Aging Wisely online or at 727-447-5845 to find out if aging in place is right for you and to know all of the best options for aging wisely and well.
When you want the best for your aging parents…
Our goal is to enable every individual we work with to live the most fulfilling life possible, with utmost dignity, focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual, family and financial wellbeing.