Is Aging in Place the Right Decision?

Many Baby Boomers find the idea of “aging in place” — staying at home as you age — to be an attractive option. In fact, the latest research from AARP says some 76 percent of adults age 50+ want to remain in their current homes as they age. Making the decision on whether to age in place or make other arrangements for your older years takes careful evaluation of the pros and cons. This week’s blog gives an overview of some of the factors you and/or your family should consider.

Own the Decision and Make a Plan

Aging in place doesn’t mean avoiding thinking about it. Rather, aging in place requires planning, research and coordination with people and services near your home. It occurs when someone makes a conscious decision to stay in their home instead of moving to an assisted living, long-term care, or other older adult community.

One major factor to consider is that aging in place isn’t always easy. As you grow older and your health declines, maintaining independence may grow increasingly difficult. Where you live makes a difference. For example, someone whose family homestead is a ranch style home that already has an accessible entrance and family nearby may have an easier time aging in place than an older adult in a three-story home far away from family, friends, and community services.

So what are the advantages of aging in place? First off, it usually is less expensive, particularly with the ever-increasing costs of assisted living, continuing care, and nursing home communities. This is especially true if you’ve already paid off your mortgage.

Even though independence is harder to maintain as you age, aging at home is possible if you have family, friends, or caregivers to lend a hand accomplishing everyday tasks.  But remember, we are looking at long term arrangements.  Are there services in your community that can help coordinate the ebb and flow of assistance that you may require? 

Additionally, staying in a familiar setting — the emotional perks — is important to many adults as they age. It’s a highly personal decision. While some people adapt easily to new environments and might have no trouble moving into a new place, others never fully adjust, which can affect a person’s mental health.  

Stop!  This is Not for Everyone.

There are possible barriers to aging in place, however. Safety concerns is one. Some homes and medical conditions can be barriers to aging in place. A home without a first-floor bathroom and bedroom that can’t be easily renovated is one. Not every home is a good candidate.

Health issues, such as cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, can make aging in place impossible because around-the-clock care is required as some diseases progress.

Aging in place also requires you to look at the challenges of maintaining your home. Many older adults find they just can’t keep up with routine maintenance and repairs. Others find the financial costs of keeping up a home exceed what they are able to pay. Delayed maintenance creates safety issues.

Finally, aging in place may not be a feasible option if you lack nearby family members or friends willing to help. If you’re not able to coordinate a network of caregivers to help you, or if friends or family members live far away or have their own health issues, aging in place may not be the right decision for you.

Let’s Stay in Touch:  It takes more than a village to support aging Baby Boomers

These are just some of the many factors to consider when contemplating aging in place. Aging in place is a viable option if you carefully research and plan the decision. To help out, future Third Chapter Living blogs will look at the planning, costs, necessary home modifications, and health care services available to older adults who decide to age in place, including community and regional programs.

Do you have ideas or information to share? We’re gathering all of the resources and information we collect, plus the experiences of members, on our private Facebook group, Housing Downsizing Tools. Join the conversation today!

1 Comments

  1. Mary Means on May 23, 2022 at 10:21 am

    For more than a decade I helped my beloved neighbor age in place after her husband died. Gladys loved her home, her neighborhood. Fortunately, single story living was possible for her. Her neighbors loved her and have a culture of helping each other. Her daughters in Paris and Baltimore visited frequently and knew they could rely on us in an emergency. Until the last 2 years of her life, and then only because of pandemic isolation, Gladys was completely independent. Her Baltimore daughter quarantined with her. A home health aide helped out. She died while on vacation 2 weeks short of 99, surrounded by her entire family. Gladys was a model for aging in place. Healthy, never bored, beloved by family and in a neighborhood of helpers. We should all be so fortunate. Since we’re not, it’s a good thing Third Chapter Living is here to help.

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