Why Aging in Place Makes Sense

Elderly couple in patio chairs looking at each other

There’s no place like home, even if you don’t own a pair of ruby slippers. For most people, home becomes even more important as the years go by.

According to a study conducted by AARP, nearly 90 percent of people age 65 and above want to remain in their own homes or “age in place” as long as possible.

Aging in place allows seniors to maintain their independence, and this sense of self-control is the number one reason why most people desire to remain exactly where they are for as long as they are able.

Independence means maintaining small, all-important daily routines that make life worth living – caring for a beloved pet, walking to the grocery store, listening to music with the sound turned up, having breakfast at noon, or tinkering in the workshop or garden.

While personal freedom makes life happier and more satisfying, familiar social networks provided by the local community are nearly as important. Living at home means enjoying a rich, full life near longtime friends and neighbors with close proximity to favored restaurants, businesses, medical providers or churches.

Uprooting seniors from familiar surroundings often leads to boredom and a lack of purpose as well as loss of dignity and a diminished quality of life. For many, the disruption of moving, including packing up a lifetime of possessions or selling a home, results in profound mental, physical and emotional stress. For some seniors, leaving the comfort of home may cause depression that eventually leads to withdrawal and a decreased will to live.

Although the physical, mental and emotional benefits of aging in place are indisputable, remaining at home may also be financially prudent for seniors and their families. The difference in cost can be substantial and may save thousands of dollars.

A comprehensive study conducted by Nursing Outlook Journal indicates that the cost of high quality home care is much less than traditional care in assisted living or a nursing home, even for seniors who need help with home modifications or housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation and personal care.

A 2014 study conducted by Genworth Financial reports that the cost of nursing home care has risen by nearly four percent in the past five years, compared to home care, which has increased by only one to two percent, depending on the location and the level of care.

Similarly, evidence provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) indicates that the average cost of nursing homes is triple that of long-term, at-home care.

Additionally, seniors who are able to age in place often take advantage of support such as senior transportation programs or help with high utility bills provided by government-subsidized programs and private organizations.

There are many options when it comes time to determine the best living situation for an aging loved one, and the decision is highly personal. However, home care is a viable option for many, resulting in improved health and a better outlook on life.