Active adult communities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, continuing care communities -- there are more care and housing options than ever for older Americans. But, by far, senior citizens’ preferred place to live is home. It’s called aging in place and an AARP study shows that, of adults aged 50 or older, three out of four want to age in place. 1 It’s not surprising. Everyone wants to enjoy the comforts of living at home and the familiarity of their neighborhood.
But not every older American can age in place. The decision to do so is a personal one and it requires senior citizens, their family members, and advisors to take into account several important factors.
Health -- The healthier an older individual is, the more likely he or she will be able to age in place comfortably and safely. Chronic illnesses like diabetes or heartconditions can be limiting factors when considering independent living at home, because they can reduce mobility and require complicated care routines that may be difficult for a senior citizen to manage alone.
- Personal care – To age in place successfully, a senior citizen must be able to be manage activities of daily living (ADLs) including bathing, dressing, and moving around on their own. Chores like cleaning, grocery shopping, and laundry must also be taken into account. But it’s not all or nothing when it comes to personal care. If a senior citizen can manage some, but not all ADLs, family members or home health aides can help with some of those tasks so the individual can remain independent longer.
- Meals – Good nutrition is critical to healthy aging. Senior citizens who choose to age in place must be able to fulfill their nutritional needs with grocery shopping and meal prep or with meal delivery services that support this crucial ADL.
- Finances – Aging in place involves ongoing financial decisions about rent or mortgage payments, home repairs, monthly bills, managing retirement and savings accounts, and the household budget. It’s helpful to have a trusted family member or advisor standing by to help senior citizens who choose to stay in their homes. 2
Benefits of aging in place
Personal anecdotes and studies abound about the benefits of helping senior citizens enjoy their golden years at home.
- Reduces stress - Senior citizens who must move out of their homes and into a facility can experience relocation stress syndrome (RSS), an official diagnosis of the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association. RSS is trigged by stress related to a move. Symptoms include anxiety, forgetfulness, and depression. 3
- Saves money - Factoring in the high cost of nursing homes and assisted living facilities and the fact that about 40% of seniors own their homes, aging in place may be the more financially prudent option for many individuals. It also generates systemic savings for Medicare and Medicaid, government programs that pay for the majority of long term care costs. 4
- Supports independence - Older Americans who age in place have an easier time following their preferred routines, staying connected with their social circles, and pursuing their hobbies and pastimes. Studies show that as we age losing independence and access to those important facets of life can lead to negative emotions including fear and anger and can lead to depression. 5
Aging in place is easier with Mom’s Meals
Grocery shopping, meal prep, and clean up are some of the biggest challenges for senior citizens who want to age in place. These chores take time, energy, transportation and of course they can’t be overlooked.
Mom’s Meals helps people age in place comfortably and supports independent living while fulfilling their nutritional needs by delivering refrigerated meals right to the home – and even bringing packages into the home if needed. No more worrying about how to get to the grocery store, carrying heavy bags of food, or cooking. Recipients of Mom’s Meals can simply enjoy their favorite, nutritious meals and have more time for things they enjoy doing.
Find out more.