According to reports from the AARP, roughly 90 percent of older adults would prefer to remain in their own home as they age, rather than uprooting to expensive, institutional care.
But while aging in place may be older adults’ preferred living situation, is it the best option for them — or for the family members who look after their health and well-being?
Ultimately, everyone is going to have a different experience with aging in place. Some people, for instance, may have unique medical needs that are going to require full-time attention, which can make staying home much more difficult, if not impossible. In other cases, a senior’s home environment may not be conducive to remaining in place. Their current space could simply be too dangerous, or unsuitable for the health needs and physical capabilities of an older adult.
In many other cases, though, aging in place will be the best possible arrangement for seniors, and their family caregivers.
Remaining at home during their golden years can allow the seniors in your life to experience the very best of life, all while staying in an environment that is familiar, comfortable, and safe. With a little bit of assistance and adjusting, aging in place is more than just an option; it is the best possible lifestyle for many seniors, one that also offers greater ease and peace of mind to their family and friends.
Here are five of the greatest benefits of aging in place for elderly adults and their families:
1.) Greater Independence
Staying in their own home grants older adults a much greater level of freedom and independence than they might have in other settings, such as assisted living or a nursing home. When seniors ages in place, they get to experience life on their terms, in the house that they helped shape into a home. When aging in place, older adults get a greater level of control over their personal lives. This can lead to higher levels of happiness, fulfillment, and personal satisfaction – all important things that can help older adults feel better and live more healthfully, in the long term.
2.) Healthier and Safer Living Environment
Institutional care, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, often bring together large groups of residents to live under one roof. At the same time, support staff and professional caregivers come in and out of those facilities all the time. In some cases, being around so many people, in such a public setting, can cause health and safety concerns for seniors. Studies suggest that viruses and infectious diseases can spread fairly easily in these communal environments, putting older people at risk.
3.) Greater Comfort
When aging in place, a senior can continue living the lifestyle they want, in an environment that is familiar and full of warm memories. Instead of having to adapt to a new place, perhaps full of new people to get to know or new systems to understand, older adults who remain in place can continue to enjoy the comforts they’ve gotten used to. If a senior requires additional help or support, there are many different home care and support programs available, which can help provide meal preparation, driving services, friendship, and more, all in the comfort and security of the senior’s home.
4.) Easier to Stay Close to Family and Friends
In many cases, aging in place will make it easier for seniors to continue seeing their friends and family as often as they’re used to. Staying close and connected to a social network is incredibly important for older adults.
For one thing, when older adults remain connected to their loved ones, they often have people they can turn to for help, whether with day-to-day activities of daily living or in the event of a more serious incident. It’s hard to overstate how beneficial it can be for older adults to have an established, local support network nearby.
It’s also difficult to overstate how beneficial it can be for elderly adults to be able to continue spending time with their adult children, grandkids, neighbors, and friends. Staying socially connected has been shown to have numerous health benefits for seniors, including lowering their risk of developing certain diseases, increasing longevity, and boosting feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
5.) Convenience and Cost Savings
Finally, it’s important to consider the other benefits that can come with remaining in place for seniors, including convenience and cost savings. To put it simply, it is often much easier and more affordable to take the steps necessary to help the senior in your life continue aging in place, rather than moving them into institutional treatment.
Home care services, for instance, are typically significantly less expensive than assisted living facility costs, which often cost thousands of dollars per month – before transportation, medical treatments, and other costs associated with aging are even factored in. What’s more, many of these housing options do not accept long-term care insurance or other forms of payment assistance.
Even better, with home care, you and your loved one have a much greater level of control over their care and support service. For instance, you can choose who you want to provide home care service, and on what schedule. In contrast, a senior in institutional care has much less of a say over who they work with, and when.