Many elderly individuals and their loved ones grapple with the decision of whether or not to age in place. When an older adult decides to age in place, it means that they’ll remain in their own home into older age, rather than moving to a residential care facility or nursing home.
For seniors with declining physical and cognitive capabilities, aging in place may seem like a sizable feat. But, there are many notable benefits of aging in place that elderly adults and their loved ones should take into account.
Benefit #1: Independence
Independence is one of the biggest benefits that older adults will experience by aging in place. Staying in their own homes as they age will provide a sense of self-sufficiency and confidence that may be lost by moving to a residential care center.
Elderly individuals have been living independently for decades. They’ve been in complete control over their living areas, schedules, meals, and social activities for their full adult lives. Moving into a care center disrupts that independence, often causing frustration. Losing independence can also harm an older adult’s ability to feel like an individual.
Seniors Have Complete Flexibility At Home
By staying at home, seniors can maintain a flexible schedule. They can stay in charge of their living spaces and won’t be forced to make major changes to their day-to-day lives. This means that they can schedule activities as they please and maintain their sense of self.
Benefit #2: Comfortable Living Space
We all want to live somewhere that feels like home. So, the move to a new living space can be stressful at any age. By aging in place, the elderly can remain in the home that they feel comfortable in and that feels familiar. This can provide an immense sense of comfort, which is especially valuable as seniors experience the natural changes that come along with aging.
The Comfort of Community Connections
Many seniors have built an emotional connection to their home and community. Relationships with neighbors, local business owners, and other community members create a network of support that’s larger than the home itself. Being uprooted from that can cause significant distress.
Benefit #3: Cost Efficiency
Especially if an elderly individual has already paid off their mortgage, aging in place can be significantly more affordable than moving to a residential care facility. Of course, the costs of home maintenance, property taxes, and home insurance must be considered, as well as the price of professional home care, if and when it’s needed.
Even considering the expenses of at-home living, however, the cost of living in a residential care facility can be comparatively high. Residential care typically includes housing, meals, cleaning services, and some degree of assistance, depending on individual needs. On average, residential care costs $3,500 to $4,500 per month. Plus, the price of moving from home into a residential care facility must be considered, along with the expense of selling a home.
Benefit #4: Social Freedom
By aging in place, older adults can more easily stay connected to current friends and family members. Seniors have likely forged connections over the years based on the location of their home. So, moving could mean a loss of convenience in accessing those friends and family members. Heaped on top of the stressors of moving, this can make the move to a residential care facility distressing.
Also, with complete control over their living space, elderly adults who are aging in place can host social events. By inviting friends and family members to visit their homes, elderly individuals can enjoy social interaction in the comfort of their own home. Plus, planning social events is an enjoyable activity that can bring joy to seniors’ lives.
Social Connections Benefit Cognitive Health
Remarkably, social connections have been shown to slow memory loss in the elderly. According to a study by Bryan James, an epidemiologist at Chicago’s Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, seniors with higher levels of social activity experienced a 70% lower rate of cognitive decline. So, by maintaining nearby social connections through aging in place, seniors could enjoy greater cognitive health over time.
By providing seniors with comfort, cost efficiency, and strong social connections, aging in place is an attractive option in comparison to assisted living.