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Pros And Cons Of Aging In Place

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pros and cons of aging in place

Aging in place is a very popular term these days and a concept that a majority of older adults are embracing. After all, if you’ve lived in your home for many years, it’s become comfortable and familiar to you. So, staying in place can be a very comforting concept.

But, there are pros and cons of aging in place that you should be aware of.

Of course, every individual person has their own unique set of circumstances so consider our list as a general handbook to review if you are considering aging in place yourself or helping a senior loved one to make the decision.

The Pros And Cons Of Elderly Living In Their Own Home

There are good and bad aspects to staying in your home as you grow older and they are as follows.

The Pros Of Aging In Place

  • The cost is usually less, depending on your current living condition. If the home is paid for and has been kept up properly, then the cost will certainly be less. If the monthly utility and maintenance bills are manageable, then it can make sense to stay put. Of course, other factors such as medical needs, physical disabilities, age and condition of pets all play a part in the monthly living expenses and should be taken into consideration.
  • Familiarity with the neighborhood and surrounding areas can be a very important factor for many seniors. Most anyone who has lived in a house for many years has made friends with their neighbors and is very familiar with the local business owners in their neighborhood. Living within these familiar surroundings provides a sense of safety and comfort and for seniors – that is a very important benefit.
  • Reduced sense of isolation. If neighbors, friends and family are nearby this can greatly reduce any sense of isolation that seniors often feel when they move to a new home. Of course – if neighbors they have known for years have moved away, if their friends have passed away or also moved away then this “benefit” of aging in place is no longer valid. It may then be time to consider moving to a location where there are more opportunities for more social engagements.
  • Personalized home modifications to make the home safer. Again, if the home is paid for, if there are sufficient funds, then making your own home modifications such as installing grab bars, stove safety devices, stair treads, etc. can further make your existing home not only safer but easier to manage and more comfortable.
  • Psychologically beneficial. There’s no doubt, that for most people, no matter what the age, moving causes stress and anxiety. This is greatly compounded when you are an older adult. Change is difficult and it’s only “more so” as you grow older. Being able to stay put in a home that you are comfortable and familiar with goes a long way towards a happy quality of life.

The Cons Of Aging In Place

  • Cost for extensive care is too much. If your senior loved one requires 24 hour care – it may be too difficult (and expensive) to remain at home. Especially if the level of care requires more than what one person can manage.
  • If any level of care is required and the cost of that care is too prohibitive – then the option to remain at home is no longer viable.
  • Unable to afford necessary home modifications for safety. If the home cannot be modified to be senior friendly then it may not be a safe environment to grow older in.
  • Home is too far away from family and friends. If the home is far from family and friends – then it defeats the purpose of growing older surrounded by the love and help that one can get from them. Many seniors live with loneliness, often not speaking to anyone for days at a time. This type of isolation can quickly bring about depression, anxiety and possible suicide. A survey in England found that 225,000 senior citizens speak to no one most weeks.
  • Home maintenance is too much. If finances prevent an elderly homeowner from being able to hire help for yard work, house cleaning and / or transportation – then staying in their current home may not be wise.
  • Issues with cognitive decline. If there are signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s then remaining at home without supervision is very dangerous and highly not recommended.

There are many wonderful benefits to aging in place but they are only beneficial if it’s the safe thing to do for the older person involved. If declining health (physical or mental) impedes someone’s ability to be safe in their own home, then they need in-home care of some sort or they must then move somewhere that care can be provided for them.

It’s a difficult decision but safety is the key factor.

I can recommend the book Aging in Place: How to live at home safely and independently for as long as possible by Stephanie Watson. It offers a good planning guide to making the most out of growing older at home.

From WCNC.com – aging expert Anthony Cirillo, president of The Aging Experience shares tips on aging in place