Now more than ever, aging seniors are opting to remain in their homes rather than relocating to an assisted living facility or nursing home. While aging in place is the preference of nearly 90 percent of seniors, according to research by AARP, 82 percent would prefer to stay in their homes even if they start to need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care. So why are so many older adults drawn to aging in place? Here are 10 aging in place benefits to consider:
Living in your own home provides a feeling of independence. Seniors can come and go as they please, decide when to have meals and when to sleep, and participate in the activities they choose. Some facilities regulate these types of everyday experiences which can feel like a loss of independence. Being self-sufficient and making decisions is a healthy part of aging, and can often be done better at home.
Relatives may be more likely to visit and be able to stay longer at a person’s home, than they could at an assisted living facility. Some family members feel more comfortable visiting their relative’s home than a nursing home or hospital environment. This can help preserve family relationships and allow seniors to have guests whenever they want.
There is a certain satisfaction with what’s familiar. Being able to maintain routines and continue hobbies is a big plus to aging in place. Living at home allows seniors to minimize changes which can help keep stress lower. They can continue to visit the same grocery stores, the same doctors, the same coffee shops all familiar things that can provide a feeling of peace. Additionally, a familiar home can be a safer home. A home layout that a senior is familiar with can be safer environment than having to get used to new surroundings.
Aging in place may help minimize the cost of living for seniors. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes can be quite expensive so staying home and hiring home care as needed may be a more cost effective option. Even if home remodeling needs to be done to ensure safety in the home, it still may be less expensive in the long run to age in place vs. moving out. Depending on the situation and the type and length of home health care needed, Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance should all be researched to determine if they’ll pitch in to help cover costs.
Staying in the same neighborhood helps social connections remain intact and allows involvement in community activities to continue. AARP reports that 41 percent of seniors who want to remain in their communities say that their number one reason for staying was their friends. Isolation can be a problem among older adults, but aging in place can help counteract that by allowing local friends and neighbors to visit and social relationships to grow.
Being able to remain at home with responsibilities, purpose and decision making abilities can have a positive impact on mental and emotional well-being. Feeling happy can lead to a more active lifestyle, which may then contribute to better overall health. Everyone can sense where they feel they belong, and for many seniors home is the answer.
Comforts of home
Most older adults have spent years making their home comfortable and just the way they want it. Why leave now? Sleep in your own bed in your own room as long as you can. As nice as some facilities may be, they still don’t have all the same comforts of home.
Reduced risk of illness
The more people, the more germs. Nursing homes house people with all types of health issues, some of which may involve germs that most seniors would gladly stay away from. Add the fact that immune systems weaken as people age, and staying at home seems like the healthier, less risky decision in terms of potential illness.
Owning a pet can provide companionship and increase activity levels of seniors who may otherwise live alone. According to WebMD, research shows that owning a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and increase levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain. All good things! Many facilities do not allow pets, which makes aging in place a much better option for pet lovers.
Many assisted living facilities have limited space for residents to bring their belongings. It can be hard to part with possessions accumulated over the years. Seniors who age in place don’t have to worry about giving away their personal possessions or deal with the stress of separating with items they aren’t ready to give up.
Aging in place appears to be the right decision for many seniors. It allows for an independent lifestyle and a continued social life, it provides the comforts of home and a feeling of familiarity, and it may even save a few hard earned dollars.