What are your plans for life when you enter the golden years? Will you travel more with fewer responsibilities? Are you going to spend as much time with your children and grandchildren? Is it time to downsize to a smaller house that makes life easier for you as you age?
There are lots of questions that you will face as you get older. One of the most important could be “what will my care needs be and how do I want to handle them?” The reality is that your body and mind will be undergoing changes during this life stage. Muscles will grow weaker, bones will become more brittle and susceptible to breaking, joints will start to hurt, and your immune system may become compromised. Everyone who has ever lived a long life has faced this truth to some extent.
When thinking about how to have access to care, there are a few options that you could choose. Maybe you could move in with one of your adult children who has the time or energy to care for you. You can also find a retirement community that places nearby amenities within reach. Or you could become a resident in a long-term care facility if you have a higher level of care. Unfortunately, there are instances of neglect and abuse that can occur there, forcing you to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to hold the facility responsible.
One of the most popular options nowadays is to age in place. This means receiving the care that you need in your own home. Let’s talk through some pros and cons of aging in place to help you discover whether it could work for you.
Pro: Easy Transition
As you get older, there will already be many transitions that will happen within your body and your lifestyle. Adding one more can be a headache. Even if you don’t plan to become a resident of a long-term care facility, it may still come down to whether or not you will move to a new home or remodel the current one. Aging in place makes for an easy transition because it is all about adapting the home that you have into an environment that can meet your needs more readily. Most homes are not prepared for the owners to age and there are some changes that need to be made. But making a few updates is far easier than uprooting from your foundation completely.
Con: Access to Immediate Care
While you can ready your home to handle your care, there is always the possibility of an emergency. In this case, you would be far better off in a facility because someone could quickly help you with whatever issue arises. At home, while you may be more comfortable in general, and you could have specialists come to you, accidents can happen that will put you in danger. Unless you have a live-in specialist at your house, an emergency response could be delayed.
Pro: Advanced Technologies can Support You
The rise of smart technology is enough of a change to completely reshape how people age in place. Bluetooth and wifi allow homes to be interconnected and controlled by one device, making it easier for people to function even if their physical abilities are starting to decline. Remote thermostats, motion sensor lighting, better security systems, and communication devices are innovations that can support your aging in place journey. Plus, medical monitoring is more possible than ever, alerting emergency personnel or specialists quickly if an issue is detected in regards to your health.
Con: Social Isolation
Loneliness is a big issue facing seniors today. Whether they have lost friends and family that they grew up with or do not get out to see people as much as they used to, it can lead to depression and even suicide. By choosing to age in place, you may be foregoing the ability to interact with others in a senior community or care facility, which have ready-made social calendars for residents to engage. Though it may be easier for relatives to visit you in your home, the times when no one is around could be difficult for your mental and social health.
Weigh the Benefits and Risks
The reason that many seniors are electing to age in place is because they have seen that the positives often outweigh the negatives. Living comfortably in your own home can improve your mood and make life easier. If this type of scenario helps you stay happier and healthier, then it could be the right decision for your future. Lay out your own list of pros and cons for aging in place, compare them to what your care needs realistically are, and then figure out how to adapt your home so that it is ready for your changing lifestyle.