Active adult communities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, continuing care communities — there are more care and housing options than ever for older adults. But most people still prefer to live at home.
It’s called aging in place and a recent AARP study shows, of adults aged 50 or older, 77 percent want to age in place. It’s not surprising. Many enjoy the comforts of living at home and the familiarity of their neighborhood. However, every older American can’t age in place.
What affects the decision to age in place?
- Health — The healthier an older individual is, the more likely they will be able to age in place comfortably and safely. But if they have a chronic illness, like diabetes or a heart condition that reduces mobility or requires a complicated care routine, it may be difficult for them to manage it alone.
- Personal care — Aging in place successfully requires keeping up with activities of daily living (ADLs) including bathing, dressing and household chores including cleaning, grocery shopping and laundry. But it’s not all or nothing when it comes to personal care. If an older adult can manage some, but not all ADLs, family members or home health aides can help with those tasks so the individual can remain independent longer.
- Meals — Good nutrition is critical to healthy aging. Older adults who choose to age in place should be able to fulfill their nutritional needs with grocery shopping and meal prep or with meal delivery services.
- Finances — There are ongoing financial decisions about rent or mortgage payments, home repairs and monthly bills as well as retirement and savings accounts to manage. It’s helpful to have a trusted family member or advisor standing by to help with financial concerns.
What are the 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 — Staying in one’s home may have mental health benefits. Older individuals 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 and can cause anxiety, forgetfulness and depression.
- Saves money — Factoring in the high cost of nursing homes and assisted living facilities and the fact that about 80 percent of Americans over the age of 60 are homeowners, aging in place may be the more financially prudent option for many individuals.
- Supporting 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 aging in place can support one’s sense of identity and life satisfaction while reducing feelings of loneliness.
Mom's Meals® can help
We can help take the stress out of mealtime with delicious and nutritious, ready-to-heat-and-eat meals delivered direct to homes. With more than 60 meal choices and nine condition-specific options, including diabetes- and heart-friendly menus, there’s no more worrying about driving to the grocery store, carrying heavy bags of food into the house or cooking.
Plus, some older Americans may be eligible to receive home-delivered meals free or at a reduced cost. Find out how.