The Pros and Cons of Aging in Place
Getting old brings about a lot of life changes. The obvious physical changes are just the beginning of the aging process. You must plan for retirement, make some tough decisions to prepare for the future, and plan for your overall care.
With every plan comes a sense of urgency — making sure you have financial security, looking for life insurance (a 500,000 no exam life insurance policy is an excellent place to start), and deciding if aging in place in your home is best for you.
A lot of considerations go into your retirement plan. The pros and cons of each step must be weighed. Likely, whatever choices you make will still be met with a level of uncertainty from others or even yourself.
One of the most significant decisions is whether or not to stay in your home or find a better living option as you age. This is a tough one for families. Without the guarantee that your future health and finances will be good, it's a bit of a gamble.
Most people have the goal of remaining in their homes for the remainder of their life as retired seniors. While we all hope to avoid living with family, assisted living, or nursing homes, it may not be possible. Let's look at the pros and cons of aging in place.
The Cons of Aging in Place
#1 – Uncertainty about Stability
Everyone has dreams of retiring in style, being financially stable, and physically healthy in their golden years. However, there are no guarantees in life. While you may be healthy when you retire, that isn't a guarantee forever. It is hard to plan for the unknown.
Look at family history, current medical conditions, and talk to your doctor. Living a healthy lifestyle and making healthy nutritional choices as you age can help you to maintain your overall health.
#2 – Health Risks as You Age
Aging definitely takes a toll on physical health. Things like walking with an aid, such as a walking cane or walker, may become necessary for many. Your home may not have enough space to navigate through it with minimal fall hazards safely.
Stairs in your home may become increasingly difficult to climb. If your bedroom is on an upper level and your laundry on a lower level, you may need to consider making costly upgrades. These upgrades will make your home more comfortable during your retirement years.
If you become more immobile over time and require a wheelchair, you will likely need to make your home handicap accessible. These changes can also be costly. Consider whether or not your home is located close to doctors and hospitals. This is important for known and unknown health conditions, especially as you age.
While it is uncomfortable to admit that we may need these things one day, it's a reality for every human being. Aging and death are inevitable and aren't reserved for the evil or unlucky.
#3 – Isolation from Family and Friends
If your home is located far from family and friends, this can be lonely when you aren't able to get out and socialize like you used to. As you age, consider moving closer to family and friends and necessary amenities.
You can't expect your family and friends always to be available to come to you when you need them if you live hours away.
#4 – Home Upkeep and Maintenance
There will likely come a time when you aren't able to mow your lawn, afford lawn care, or take care of home maintenance and upkeep. The cost of paying for small repairs is expensive and can begin to add up the further down the road of disrepair you allow your home to get.
Consider the resale value of your property while it is in reasonably good condition versus the value of the property in later years following a lack of maintenance. The financial impact may be too significant to wait.
#5 – Cost of Having Home Health
While staying in your home is comforting to you, it may require you to pay for in-home healthcare, which comes with a hefty price tag. You need to make sure your insurance covers the costs, and the service is approved. Otherwise, you may leave behind massive debt for your family to settle after you pass.
Expecting your family to provide for your daily care isn't always appropriate. Caregivers may have other obligations, such as children, spouses, and a job. The life and stress of a caregiver are overwhelming, so guilting family into being your caregiver may be selfish, depending on your level of need.
The Pros of Aging in Place
#1 – Comfort in Your Home
Being familiar with your home and comfortable is essential as you age. As our cognitive skills tend to slow and change with age, being familiar with surroundings and neighbors provides a deep sense of comfort. This is also likely to be a relief for your family members when they think of you.
#2 – Convenience of Your Possessions
It is convenient to have all of your belongings in their proper place. Having to move is probably one of the most inconvenient events in life, especially as we age. Being established in a home and having a daily routine is essential. Starting over in a new home is difficult and is a massive disruption in life.
#3 – Cheaper, Individualized Care
Living in your own home affords you individualized care by having willing family members help or hiring in-home care. While it can be costly, it provides a sense of security and privacy. There is also a lack of exposure to illness that is normal in assisted living and nursing home communities.
With individual care, you can get focused one on one time with care providers to decrease potential health risks. An in-home care provider can work with you to preserve mobility and independence for as long as possible.
#4 – Regular Costs are Cheaper
If your home is paid for, you're saving a ton of money by remaining in it as long as you are able. The cost of maintenance pales in comparison to the cost of assisted living. It may make financial sense to remain in your home for the time being while you can care for yourself or have private caregivers taking care of your daily needs.
#5 – Psychological Benefits
Happiness and familiarity provide a host of benefits to your overall physical health. Those who age gracefully at home are at a reduced risk of depression, feeling isolated, and anxiety when they can spend their golden years in the comfort of familiar surroundings and in the presence of family members.
The memories made in their home are a source of comfort and joy.
About the Author
Robyn Flint writes and researches for the insurance site, EffortlessInsurance.com. She is a licensed realtor, a freelance writer, a published author, and an entrepreneur. Robyn has an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and has previously worked in skilled nursing facilities.
About Carex Health Brands
Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.
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