As one enters their senior years, there are many important decisions that must be made that will affect the quality of life. Housing is the most important decision that elders must make as they age. Often the decision comes to staying in the comfort of their own home or transitioning into nursing home living.
The meaning of “aging in place”
Aging in place is a term that is slowly becoming more well-known to aging adults, as many seniors are realizing that this housing option allows them to remain in their home as health circumstances change.
What does it mean to age in place? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is defined as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
The proper definition of a nursing home is “a privately-operated establishment providing maintenance and personal or nursing care for persons (as the aged or the chronically ill) who are unable to care for themselves properly” as defined by Merriam-Webster.
A closer look at nursing homes:
Nursing homes are a long-term care and housing option considered by many in the aging population. Before coming to a decision, it is important to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of living in a nursing faculty.
The significant benefit of moving into a nursing home is the care received by skilled medical professionals. The daily upkeep of a house is eliminated for seniors when they choose to live in a nursing home. Nursing homes provide a structured living schedule for their residents. Meals are provided at certain times of the day. Nurses are available 24/7 to provide full-time care, which allows families to be reassured that their loved ones are being cared for around the clock.
Nursing homes can become expensive quickly. According to reports by GenWorths’ 2016 Annual Cost of Care Survey, private nursing rooms can cost close to $8,000 per month. Unless seniors have set aside retirement savings to cover nursing home expenses, many find that they may not be able to handle the financial burden of nursing home costs.
Active seniors often feel that their sense of independence is taken away at a nursing home faculty. Living in an unknown environment with little personal belongings brings an emotional toll on nursing home residents. Additionally, restricted visiting hours for family members can leave seniors with an increased feeling of isolation.
Benefits of aging in the home
Today most seniors would argue that they would prefer to age gracefully in their own home, if possible. Fortunately, it is easy to remodel and modify a home to cater to a senior’s healthcare needs. Despite the advantages of living in aging in place for many seniors, there may be some disadvantages. Examples of both are discussed below:
Many seniors notice the increased quality of life that aging at home can bring, such as keeping a sense of freedom and independence. Choosing to live at home also allows seniors to enjoy a relaxed schedule without structured meal times.
Seniors also maintain a lower cost of living by choosing to age in place. There are fewer costs to accommodate for when aging in place, allowing seniors to have a more affordable and flexible budget while minimizing the costs of living.
In addition, there are many ways to remodel a home to accommodate for seniors increasing frailty and aged related conditions. An in-home elevator or motorized stair lift can be installed to help maintain mobility for seniors. Seniors can also add additional in home safety features to their home, such as bathroom such as non-slip floors, walk-in bathtubs, and grab bars near the bath, shower, and toilet.
Sometimes a higher quality of care is needed for those seniors to choose to age in their home. Seniors may have to rely on friends and family for transportation when they can no longer drive. Aging adults may find that looking after a home can become more challenging as the years’ pass.
The benefits of aging in place are more attractive to seniors than aging in nursing home facilities. Due to advanced technology, aging in place is becoming a more viable living option for seniors as they age. At the end of the day, it is up to you and your family to decide which senior living option is better suited for your needs.