- Aging in place is choosing to continue living at home or with another relative as one passes through retirement age.
- This is a popular alternative option to living in a retirement home for various reasons, including comfortability and affordability.
- That said, in deciding whether or not you should age in place, make a few important considerations regarding this later stage of life.
- First, understand that your body’s capabilities will change, and you might need some assistance.
- These responsibilities that you can’t fulfill—like cleaning or getting groceries—will likely fall on your loved ones; decide if you can/want to rely on them.
- Most importantly, plan ahead and make the big decisions now: you’ll be glad you did when the time comes to implement that plan.
All of my grandparents chose to age in place. In fact, most senior citizens older than retirement age do. It’s nothing new, and as our population grows, it will likely become even more common. So, what is “aging in place,” and why is it so prevalent in our society? It’s simple. Aging in place simply means that as you pass retirement age, you’ve chosen to continue living in your home or the home of a relative. A lot of people prefer aging in place to living in a retirement home for a variety of reasons including comfortability, affordability, and more.
Perhaps you are far away from making this decision, or this may be something that is just a few years down the road. You may even be gathering information for someone else. Whatever the case, here are some considerations to make about getting older and possibly aging in place:
1. Your body will change.
How it will change, and to what extent, varies from person to person, but almost everyone will go through changes that will alter and/or limit the lifestyle you are living now. As you age, your body will be less capable when it comes to strength, vision, and hearing. Your endurance, both physically and mentally, will naturally decline. There are also more risks included in daily living, such as falling, heart attacks, and more.
2. Planning ahead is important.
It’s an understatement that planning for this phase in your life is necessary. Because of the changes your body will be going through, having resources in place to adjust will allow you to continue living a lifestyle of independence (albeit limited), especially if you want to live alone. All of this requires both financial and medical planning. Know what your insurance covers and how you can pay for modifications to your home that will suit your needs. Additionally, it may be necessary at some point for you to have a live-in nurse, depending on what your current health status is.
3. Can/do you want to rely on your family?
Some families are very close, and you may already know who will be helpful as you age in place. Still, it’s valuable for you to consider the burden of the tasks that may fall on the lap of your children or other relatives that care about you. These tasks include the need for independence. You may want to drive, keep your house organized, cook and have guests, but this may become increasingly difficult or even impossible as you age. These responsibilities may fall upon your family instead. That is why it is necessary to communicate with them as you plan ahead and make decisions. Know where they stand on your future so that you can include (or exclude) them on important matters.
4. Make the big decisions now.
Or at least soon. Emergencies happen, so it is beneficial for you to have a contingency plan in case the worst happens. These decisions also include when you want to retire, where exactly you want to live, what is important to you in the realm of healthcare and which adjustments you want to make when necessary. Most importantly, keep a record of which decisions you want made for you in case you can’t make them yourself, ensuring that you’re protected during this phase of your life.
Aging in place can be a stressful period of your life, or it can be a time of freedom and fulfillment. The difference for you may lie in how well you plan your final years and which choices you believe are best for you and your family.