The Truth About Aging in Place
Aging in place is when one can live in one’s own home or community safely and comfortably without any assistance. This ability can be determined by age, income, and one’s physical ability level.
Most individuals probably have the intent of aging in place. It is less likely that a person anticipates and eagerly plans to live in assisted living communities. When planning for the future and taking time to determine your life insurance beneficiary, you are also planning to stay in your own home as you age.
Aging adults who can live on their own make up around ten percent of the home improvement industry. This is because accommodations need to be made to adjust their home to their current physical conditions. This rate is only expected to increase as more time goes by. A big chunk of home improvement revolves around the bathroom, as there are specific bathroom safety guidelines for seniors.
Almost all of my grandparents are still living, and they still reside in their own home without any assistance. Of course, their children and grandchildren help out with the more physically demanding housework. Yet, for the most part, they are happy and thriving on their own.
As a big family, we all still gather together at their houses and indulge in laughter, food, and games. Being able to continue to host all of the family regularly leaves them with a bright face. Aging in place has plenty of benefits, but just like anything else, there are some cons to it, too.
Is Aging in Place More Cost Effective?
Aging in place typically costs less than living in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Those types of communities are usually expensive and take a good chunk of senior citizen’s retirement funds and social security payments.
If seniors own their home, chances are they have already paid off their mortgage. Twenty percent of seniors between the ages of 65 and 74 have already paid off their mortgage completely, so staying at home makes more sense financially.
Medicare, which many seniors use for insurance, does not cover long-term placement in assisted living facilities. That is something you would have to pay for out of pocket. However, there are programs, like the Medicare PACE program, that covers assisted living or in-home alternatives.
A semi-private room in a nursing facility cost around $7,000 a month in 2016. Paying a year for the room means you would have coughed up $85,000, which is way more than what the average American household makes in a single year.
Alternatively, assisted living facilities cost half of that, around $4,000 a month. Despite being cheaper than a nursing home, that option still costs approximately $45,000 a year. This is close to what the average American household earns annually.
Aging in Place is More Comfortable for Everyone
This statement may seem obvious, but aging in place is more comfortable for seniors. They have likely spent a good portion of their life in their home, so why would they not feel comfortable spending their remaining years there?
Seniors have their own beds, decorations, more space to spread out, familiar and pleasant smells, and they can host as many friends and family as they want. In an assisted living facility or a nursing home, beds are generally uncomfortable, there are strange smells, and their personal space is limited.
With depression being a leading mental illness in senior citizens, aging in place and other alternatives can help with treating seasonal depression.
Because the facilities are shared with others who may be sick or ill, the staff is required to clean the building with industrial brand cleaners. This can make living there uncomfortable since industrial cleaners have strong smells. There may also be no carpet, so the rooms are colder than what their home could be.
Your Mental Abilities Stay intact
The loss of memory is scary for not only the person experiencing it but also for family members and other loved ones. Unfortunately, this is inevitable for people as they grow older, but aging in place can help to deter this occurrence. Being moved into a new environment like a nursing home or assisted living facility can make dealing with memory loss more frustrating.
Living in assisted living facilities can even increase the likelihood of one losing their memory. Because of the loss of familiarity and uncomfortableness, a senior can begin to lose memories. Staying at home promotes an increase in social network connections. And being able to stay social with the same people in the same community allows seniors to keep their memories present.
There is even a study that shows how seniors with frequent social activity have a 70 percent reduction in cognitive decline compared to isolated seniors. If your loved one experiences memory loss, there are guides to dementia to help the issue.
However, transitioning into a living facility may be the last resort if other efforts do not help the situation.
Seniors Can Keep Their Independence
Most seniors have spent most of their lives working, providing, dancing, cooking, and thriving on their own. It could be traumatic for them to lose their independence after many years of not depending on anyone to help them survive.
When they age in place, they get to keep their decency. It also keeps them mentally and physically capable because they are continually moving around and able to take care of themselves.
They experience more self-confidence because they have to put more effort into taking care of themselves. Actively taking care of oneself can be seen as self-care, and findings show that self-care is crucial to staying mentally healthy.
Aging in place has many benefits, although there are some drawbacks, too. Seniors often experience depression, a decline in memory, and a decline in physical ability. Keeping their independence is one factor that can help them combat the potential decreases in their health.
About the Author
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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