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Aging in Place Versus Assisted Living - Pros and Cons

 Posted on: March 6th, 2021

Aging in Place Versus Assisted Living - Pros and Cons
Aging in Place Versus Assisted Living - Pros and Cons

Many people will, at some point in their lives, have a difficult choice to make with regard to their living situations: do we stay in our homes, or do we transition to assisted living?

The vast majority of seniors (90 percent, according to one study) intend to stay in their home for at least another five to 10 years, and 85 percent of those individuals believe they can do so without having to make significant modifications to their home.

That being said, only 43 percent of people over the age of 70 find it “very easy” to live by themselves in their current home, with nearly 20 percent of people over the age of 70 finding it difficult or impossible to live independently, without assistance from caregivers.

So how does one make the choice of whether aging in place or transitioning to assisted living is best? It takes a great deal of careful thought and introspection. Here are some of the pros and cons of aging in place rather than going into assisted living.

 Pros

  • Keeping the home: Many people in their senior years have been in their home for decades, and the prospect of leaving a home where they have made so many memories can be quite difficult. The sentimentality can make it very difficult to let go.
  • Visits: People who age in place can have some independence with regard to social time. They are still able to have visits at their home whenever they please, but they are also able to enjoy their own time alone as they wish.
  • Financial savings: If you are able to stay in the home without having to make any massive modifications beyond ramps, grab bars and other smaller items, you will save a significant amount of money. Chances are you already have your home paid off, and even if you don’t, mortgage is almost certainly going to cost you less money than what you can expect to pay each month in an assisted living facility. This means you can save some money to use for your travels and hobbies, and to preserve in estate value to pass down to your children and heirs.

 Cons

  • Potential isolation: People who age in place but do have some mobility or transportation issues can become isolated. Assisted living facilities have built-in opportunities for socialization with other residents, while those who live in their own homes can become lonely if they do not have activities to get them out of the house, or other people to come visit them.
  • Higher risk of health issues: For people who age in place into their 70s and beyond, there is an increased risk of falls, injuries and other health events. In many cases this is due to a lack of sufficient modifications to the home for safety, or a lack of people coming to check in on them.
  • Costs of home modifications: While home modifications can make it easier for people to age in place, the costs can quickly become significant. Simple modifications like handles, carpets, grab bars, ramps and lighting might not cost much, but more extensive modifications can cost tens of thousands of dollars, including widened hallways, lowered cabinets, lifts up and down stairs, bathroom remodels for no-step showers, etc.

If you do choose to age in place, make sure you have a plan for how you will keep your home safe for use, especially if you have any mobility issues. Even if you do not have any such issues yet, planning for the future can be highly beneficial.