The baby boomer generation is growing older and many of them have watched their own parents and grandparents remain in the home as they grew older, something known as aging in place. However, today’s older generation is looking for an experience. They want to lead healthy, active lives filled with socialization and meaningful experiences, which is why many have discovered the benefits of aging in a community.
What Does Aging in Place Mean?
The answer to what does aging in place mean is simple. It is remaining in your home or the home of a child or grandchild where it is comfortable, and you can be surrounded by memories. However, in order to age in place, there are certain responsibilities not only for you but for your family as well. If you are living alone, you will need to prepare meals, maintain your home, pay your bills and handle other responsibilities that can be challenging as we age. Living alone can also lead to isolation which can be overwhelming, especially if you spend most days on your own with brief if any interactions with others. As we get older, caring for our own individual needs becomes increasingly difficult, and what used to be simple like bathing, grooming and basic hygiene takes more time and effort. Safety can become a concern, doing less activity can make us weaker and more prone to falls or accidents within the home. A sedentary and increasingly isolated lifestyle can result in physical and mental health issues for many seniors, as well as a marked decline in quality of life.
Difficulty on Family
Choosing to age in place can also be difficult for your loved ones. It is not unusual for family caregivers to be stretched thin. Today, younger people live hectic, busy lives which may make it difficult for them to assist you with your responsibilities. Your adult children have children of their own that they must manage and care for while also holding down jobs, running their household, and dealing with their own finances. Being responsible for an older family member who is living alone can be emotionally and physically demanding which takes a toll on everyone.
Cost of Aging in a Community vs. Aging in Place
Surprisingly, remaining in your home can be more costly than living in a senior living community, particularly if you need medical or living assistance. Even if your house is paid off, you are financially stable and your health is relatively good, the expenses of remaining at home can really add up. Your home will require maintenance which can be expensive. Your car could break down, requiring you to pay for expensive repairs or purchase a new one, adding a monthly payment to your expenses. If you become ill and need additional help, home health care can be expensive, even for a short time. If you suffer an emergency, the costs of medical services, ambulances, and emergency room visits can become astronomical.
One thing to consider when deciding whether aging in a community vs. aging in place is best for you is your activity level. According to a study conducted by AARP in 2011 found that 87 percent of people over the age of 65 wanted to stay in their home as long as possible. However, that same study found that of the adults between 50 and 64 who responded, only 71 percent wanted to age in place. This indicates that the idea of aging at home is shifting as people want to remain more active. Aging in a community can help a person thrive. It is human nature to want to connect with others, as evidenced by the way we seek out companionship and social interactions. As we grow older, being unable to socialize can cause loneliness or sadness, leading to a decreased quality of life. When older adults are more active, the burden is eased on family members. In a community designed for older adults, family members have the peace of mind that their parents or grandparents are able to get human interaction 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Meet the Individual Needs of Each Older Person
Aging in a community allows for individual needs to be met as there are many services and amenities designed to promote a healthy lifestyle along with socialization, engagement, and meaningful interactions. Our communities provide a home-like, warm and inviting environment that allows older people to interact and socialize while preserving their independence within a private apartment. We offer many different social events and activities designed with older adults in mind. These include games, sports, and even wellness programs that are designed to promote an active body, mind, and soul. We even offer seminars, guest speakers, and classes so that your mind remains engaged.
As we get older, it becomes more difficult to perform the regular chores around the house that we have always done. You may no longer be able to wash your windows, mow your lawn or clean the gutters on your home. It may also be getting harder to clean a home that is now too large for you. In this area, we deal with a significant amount of snow and ice in the winter. Being unable to clear your sidewalks of snow or ice could be dangerous and even life-threatening as it could lead to a slip and fall. Because maintenance is included in a community designed for older people, there is no need to worry about a leaking roof, clogged gutters, or an icy sidewalk as that is handled by the community.
Although aging at home seems like it would be a healthier option, the fact is it may be more dangerous for an older person. If you live alone, there may be no one with you if you suffer a medical emergency. If you do need additional medical care, such as rehabilitation, physical therapy, or other treatments, it can be expensive to bring that type of service into your home. Communities designed for older adults offer rehabilitation therapy, memory care, and more services designed to keep you healthy. Not only are there medical services, but there are also other professional services as well, including beauty and barber shops, dry cleaning, laundry, grocery delivery, and more.
If you or your older relatives are trying to decide between aging in a community vs. aging in place, contact us today to see how we can help. We will sit down with you and discuss the benefits of both options so that you can make the right decision for yourself and your family.