Most seniors want to stay in their homes as they age. Actually my grandparents, parents, older friends… it seems that every older acquaintances I have want to live in their own homes indefinitely! In fact, according to a United States of Aging survey from the AARP (formerly The American Association of Retired Persons, 2012), approximately 90% of seniors intend to stay in their current homes for the next five to ten years.
Why Do Seniors Want to Stay in Their Homes? Moving comes with both physical and emotional stress and many seniors are afraid of leaving behind their well-known neighborhood and a family home full of memories. Add to that the fear of loosing their independence and the fear of going to a new place they are not used to.
These are all very valid reasons for seniors to stay in their homes. Learn more about why seniors want to age in place and the pros and cons about keeping them in their own homes.
Main Reasons Seniors Want To Stay In Their Homes
Every senior is different and has their own set of reasons for wanting to stay in their homes, but these reasons below are the most commonly cited by seniors that want to age in place.
1. Stress of Moving
Moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life and stress can escalate changes in their cognition or function. As a senior, if they are moving, they are likely downsizing and that can add to the tension. In addition to this, for many seniors, moving out of a family home may mean sorting through decades of keepsakes and possessions.
2. Anxiety of leaving their community and loosing their connections
Seniors usually know their community very well and many of their family and friends live close to their home. Even if some of them don’t, they surely know where their older relative and/or friend reside and they can visit any time. Accordingly, moving out may mean changing old routines, and some seniors may worry that a move will further isolate them from friendships that have lasted their entire life. Furthermore, leaving their close knit community may create a sense of disorientation that is challenging to regain at an older age.
3. Emotional ties to their home, their family home
A house is just a house, but a home is a lot more! Anyone who has lived in their home for more than a couple years has lasting memories, now imagine having decades of memories in a single home! That is impossible to recreate. For this reason, leaving a physical structure that has captured decades worth of memories and that’s still the one place to family holidays and reunions can be very emotional. Besides, having those emotional ties assists in recalling memories that only their own home holds. Some seniors may not be willing to let these memories go.
4. The fear of losing their independence
Aging in place allows seniors to live a very comfortable life in their homes, where they are familiar with their environment. Additionally, the freedom they have within their own home is quite different from what they may experience anywhere else. Some seniors may not be willing to risk their independency just yet.
5. The fear of the unknown, the fear of changing
Changes and life adjustments are difficult for anyone, especially for seniors that are already well stabilized in their life routines. More than anything else, the fear of the unknown can keep seniors in their homes and often in an unsafe environment. Seniors may worry about losing valuable relationships and feeling left out of future family functions and friendly gatherings.
6. Worries about their finances
While most consider health as being the most important aspect as we age, money is a crucial element too. Therefore, when making considerations about where to live during their aging years, seniors may also think about the finances. And there are many costs to moving, especially in a market where home prices have decreased, seniors are unwilling to sell at a reduced rate even if they carry no mortgage.
Pros of Seniors Living At Home
- Freedom from the strict schedules of nursing facilities.
- The ability to preserve their own independence.
- The comforts of remaining in their most familiar place.
- The possibility to maintain their community connections.
- Personal possessions that they may not be able to keep in a nursing facility.
- Freedom to have family and friends visit whenever they like.
- The ability to carry on with their own personal habits and routines.
- A healthier overall setting free of illnesses that may be present in a clinical environment.
- Less expense than nursing homes or assisted living centers
- The ability to receive specialized care for conditions in the comfort of home.
- The possibility of making helpful home modifications
- Live with a smaller budget, since aging in place cost less
Cons of Seniors Living At Home
- The level of care at home is not as good as in a place built specific for elderly.
- Safety’s a larger concern.
- It will get harder and harder to getting around.
- Home maintenance will become more challenging.
- Loneliness is a serious possibility.
What supports can help seniors stay at home?
Nowadays with technology being so spread out, seniors can hire services that fill in any gaps in their need.
- Seniors can hire someone to help with basic personal care, do their grocery shopping, clean their house, and walk their dog if they start to have a hard time managing those tasks on their own.
- Seniors can call Uber, when they need to go somewhere.
- They can also use meal delivery service if they want to eat something different from their everyday food.
- As for their money management, nowadays most of the bills can be paid online.
- If they need reminds to take their medicine, there are devices available to remind them when it is time for their next dose.
How to keep seniors safe when living at their own home?
Falls are, without question, the most common and costly accident occurring with seniors living by themselves at their own home. Therefore, creating a safer home environment is the best route to preventing falls. By making a few simple additions or changes, it’s easy to create a fall-proof residence.
Any kind of memory loss is also very common on seniors, and this problem dramatically increases the risk of death by fire. Accordinlgy, installing smoke alarms is one of the best preventative measures, as they provide the home owner with more time to escape.
It’s normal to be concerned about injuries that anyone can’t predict, fires, or other emergency health conditions. Besides, as health continues to decline, so does our ability to notify those around us of problems or issues that may need attention. Thus, to solve this issue, an emergency response system provides peace of mind in these situations, because help is only one press of a button away.
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