When older adults first begin to plan for retirement, one question that almost always comes up is where to live. Aging in place at home is one potential solution. Moving to senior living is another.
There are definite pros and cons to consider with each. It’s important to take time to consider both.
The Pros and Cons of Moving to Senior Living
Older adults who make a move to senior living 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 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. There are wellness activities, life enrichment programs, and opportunities to socialize every day. Residents can take part in as many—or as few—as they chose.
Freedom and Peace of Mind
Another important part of moving to a senior living condominium or apartment is the freedom, security, and peace of mind it provides. Seniors are free from the drudgery of home ownership. No more worries about home repairs, lawn care, and other home-related tasks.
Residents are free from the stress, expense, and time involved with household upkeep.
A thoughtfully designed environment gives residents and their adult children peace of mind. Grab bars, handrails, and emergency call systems help seniors maintain their safety and independence.
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 a senior living community, well-balanced meals are the standard. Residents 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 seniors pay extra for at home are typically included: utilities, basic cable, meals, maintenance and repairs, transportation, and a variety of life enrichment and wellness programs.
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 is will be too expensive. Once they make the move, however, they find neither to be the case.
The Pros and Cons of Staying at Home
Many older adults say they want to remain at home as they grow older. But aging in place at home can be a much more complex decision than it first appears.
Sometimes it is because of a sentimental attachment to a house. It may be the place where they raised a family with a now-departed spouse. The memories keep a senior from making a move even when they know their quality of life will improve.
Other times seniors think staying 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. With home care services averaging $20 per hour, however, the costs can quickly add up.
Many factors come in to play:
- How easily the home can be modified to make it safer—and at what cost—if an older adult develops 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 it is to access transportation is another factor to consider. If family and friends or reliable, economical transportation services are available, staying at home might be a short-term solution. Rural seniors might find a lack of transportation to be a barrier for getting to the grocery store, medical appointments, and tending to other errands.
- Close proximity of family and friends in case of emergency or if the senior needs support with personal care. As we grow older, our needs for assistance can change quickly. And seniors often need help at random hours throughout the day and night. This can make planning tough.
Finally there is the quality of life issue to consider. Seniors living who live alone might battle loneliness and feel isolated. Not only does this impact quality of life, it is proven to have a negative impact health.
In the medical community, loneliness is classified as a major health risk for seniors. It contributes to health conditions such as obesity, depression, diabetes, and heart disease. In fact, loneliness can increase a senior’s risk for dying by as much as 14%.
We know we’ve given you a lot to think about. If you have more questions about the pros and cons of senior living, find a community near you and our team will be happy to help!