According to AARP, 77% of adults age 50 and up prefer to age in place over moving to any kind of assisted living facility. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define aging in place as the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. Aging in place promotes life satisfaction, a positive quality of life and self-esteem, and many other health benefits that improve health, wellness, and happiness of elderly adults well into their later years of life.
Benefits of aging in place include:
- The comfort and familiarity of current home
- Regular friend and family visits
- Ability to keep pets
- Access to community social engagements
- Ability to maintain dignity and independence
Six Major Benefits of Aging in Place
- Fosters Independence and Empowerment
When an elderly adult states that they would like to remain in their home but their loved ones decide otherwise, it can create tension between the family, as well as feelings of anger, grief and sadness, and stress for the elderdly adult being forced out of their home. These negative emotions can play a huge impact on the elderly adult’s mental and physical health. There is a solution though that allows elderly adults to stay in the comfort of their home safely as they age. In-home care providers offer companionship and assistance with daily tasks that may become more difficult over time such as:
- Meal prepping
- Running errands
- General housekeeping and laundry
- Pet care
- Personal care
An in-home care provider offers peace-of-mind and a break for family caregivers, knowing their loved one is safe and being cared for by professionals. To elderly adults, care providers offer them assistance while still allowing them to maintain a sense of independence and empowerment.
- Social Engagement in the Community
Loneliness and feeling isolated becomes a huge problem for elderly adults living in care facilities with structured social activity times and rules regarding when patients are and are not allowed to be out of their rooms. When elderly adults get to stay in their communities they maintain regular access to:
- Their existing social networks
- Religious/spiritual communities
- Clubs and organizations
- Community events and activities
- Favorite restaurants and hangout spots
- Exercise classes or group activities
- Day trips or outings of their choosing
Living in their home with the assistance of a home care provider allows for different forms of positive social stimulation on their desired schedule.
- Drastically More Cost-Efficient
The average cost of a full time home care provider costs less than half the amount of a semi-private room in a care facility. A bed in a shared room at an assisted living facility typically costs anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000 and a private room can cost upward of $70,000. Elderly adults with specialized care requirements can expect to pay more on top of these costs. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who choose to age in place can save thousands of dollars per month in care costs.
Many elderly adults’ homes are either paid off or close to it, making monthly expenses much cheaper than if they were living in a care facility. Home Care, Recharged offers free consultations with experienced care providers who can help explain price breakdowns and comparisons between the costs of in-home assistance and care facilities.
- Slows the Progression of Memory Loss
Age-related memory loss and Dementia affect a person’s short-term memory exponentially more than long-term and preserved skills. For more information about memory loss and dementia in elderdly adults, check out Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Benefits of Home Care. Moving an elderly adult to a new setting and social environment strips them of foundational long-term stimuli, resulting in stress, confusion, and can even potentially speed up the rate of cognitive decline.
The comfort and familiarity of home reduces the confusion and fear that an elderly adult is likely to experience when they are moved into an unfamiliar environment. In-home caregivers with experience in memory and cognitive care hold invaluable knowledge and skills in:
- Preserving their client’s memory and cognitive abilities for as long as possible
- Helping maintain the anchor between their client and their family
- Keeping their client safe, comfortable, and happy throughout the aging process
- A Comforting and Familiar Space
The experience of moving into a senior care facility is already a very stressful experience, as with any move, but this experience can be especially traumatizing to elderly adults because most nursing homes or assisted living facilities are extremely limited as far as what furniture and personal belongings that they can bring with them and have strict rules in regards to pets. Having to give up their beloved pet so they can move into a facility they didn’t want to, in the first place, is an absolutely devastating moment for an elderly adult.
Mental health has a huge effect on a person’s physical health, and as we age this impact becomes greater. The health and well-being of an elderly loved one isn’t solely based upon clinical care, but also their comfort and happiness. Elderly adults are far more comfortable and happy through the aging process when they are surrounded by:
- Familiar sights, sounds, and smells
- Their favorite bed, couch, chair, etc.
- The yard/garden that they’ve tended to for years
- Art, photos, and decor of their choosing
- Family, friends, and their pets
- Healthier and Safer Environment
Moving into a nursing home or other form of assisted-living facility poses many potential health and safety risks to elderly adults.
- The emotional distress can increase risk of depression and anxiety, which can weaken the immune system and accelerate physical and mental decline.
- Risk of bacterial and viral infections are much higher within the walls of a care facility where residents live so closely to one another. There is a much higher risk of spreading and contracting serious, life-threatening illnesses such as Pneumonia, Influenza, and digestive infections.
- Certain illnesses like a UTI or respiratory infection may get missed by an overwhelmed or busy nurse, allowing the infection time to spread and increase in severity before being caught. This can make these “average” bacterial infections much harder to treat and can impact the patient’s health even after the infection is completely cleared.
Aging in the consistent and safe environment of their own home reduces an elderly adult’s risk of getting sick and provides a better quality of life. With the added assistance from an in-home care provider, clients and their families can rest assured that they are safe and regularly monitored to catch any potential illnesses as soon as possible for the best health outcome to the client.
According to an AARP survey, 90% of older adults nationwide want to remain living in their home for as long as possible. The assistance of an in-home care provider can make that possible, though there may be some potential home features that may require some modifications to aid in the care and safety of your elderly loved one. Creating clear pathways throughout the home, marking changes in any floor level changes, and ensuring that regularly used appliances and rooms (like the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen) and as close together as possible are some easy ways to make home life easier for your elderly loved one.
Potential hazards, repairs, and modifications that may be necessary can be easily missed by someone inexperienced in elderly care, so a home safety assessment is highly recommended. Information about a professional home safety assessment by Home Care, Recharged and some simple tips can be found in Falls at Home: The Risks and Prevention Tips, so that your loved one can have the safest and happiest experience through the aging process, while remaining in their beloved home.
Created by: Bailey