When older adults first begin to plan for retirement, one question that almost always comes up is where to live. Most people naturally gravitate toward aging at home, assuming it’s the best option, but that’s not always the case. That’s why it’s important to consider retiring to a senior living community, as well.
Check out the pros and cons to consider with each option here.
The Pros and Cons of Moving to Senior Living
Older adults who have made a move to a senior living community while they are still active and independent almost always say they wish they’d made the transition sooner. A better quality of life is one of the most immediate benefits.
Residents of our senior living communities benefit from inspired living. It’s a philosophy of life that nurtures the body, mind, and spirit. Friendship and leisure pursuits are always close at hand. You’ll find wellness activities, life enrichment programs, and opportunities to socialize every day. Residents can take part in as many—or as few—as they choose.
Freedom and Peace of Mind
Another important part of moving to senior living versus aging at home is the freedom, security, and peace of mind you’ll enjoy. Older adults are free from the drudgery of home ownership with no more worries about home repairs and lawn care. You’ll have freedom from the stress, expense, and time involved with household upkeep, too.
A thoughtfully-designed environment also gives residents and their adult children peace of mind with grab bars, handrails, and emergency call systems to help maintain safety and independence.
When aging at home, older adults often lose interest in cooking. Many say it seems like too much trouble for just one or two people. As a result, they develop unhealthy eating habits. In senior living communities like ours, well-balanced meals are the standard. You’ll enjoy restaurant-style dining and a variety of menu options while socializing with friends.
Senior living communities can also be a smart financial move. The services and amenities most older adults pay extra for when aging at home like: utilities, basic cable, meals, maintenance and repairs, and transportation are typically included. A variety of life enrichment and wellness programs are also included in the cost.
The Bottom Line on Senior Living
The good news is there is very little downside associated with a move to senior living. Before moving, older adults often worry they will have to sacrifice their freedom or that senior living will be too expensive. Once they make the move, however, they find neither to be the case.
The Pros and Cons of Aging at Home
Many older adults say they want to remain at home as they age. Sometimes it is because of a sentimental attachment to their house. It may be the place where they raised a family with a now-departed spouse. The memories may keep an older adult from making a move even when they know their quality of life will improve.
Other times seniors think aging at home and enlisting the services of a home care agency when they need help is less expensive. Because the home is mortgage-free, there is a misperception that the costs will be lower. However, with home health aide services averaging $27 per hour according to the most recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the costs can quickly add up. As such, aging at home can be a much more complex decision than it first appears.
Considerations for Aging at Home
- How easily can the home be modified to make it safer—and at what cost—if you develop mobility problems (e.g., creating a barrier-free shower, widening doorways, creating an accessible kitchen)? If the home is newer, home modifications might be easier. For an older home, these types of renovations can be cost-prohibitive.
- How easy is it to access transportation? If family and friends or reliable, economical transportation services are available, aging at home might be a short-term solution. However, those in rural areas might find a lack of transportation to be a barrier for getting to the grocery store, medical appointments, and tending to other errands.
- Are family and friends in close proximity in case of emergency or if the you need support with personal care? As we grow older, our needs for assistance can change quickly. And older adults often need help at random hours throughout the day and night. This can make planning tough.
- Where will you have the best quality of life? Older adults who live alone often battle loneliness and feel isolated. Not only does this impact quality of life, it is proven to have a negative impact health.
The Bottom Line on Aging at Home
Aging at home definitely works for some people. However, quite simply, the lifestyle in senior living —from staying active to social and enrichment opportunities to convenience and amenities to peace of mind to value—is hard to match at home, particularly when living alone.