Nearly 9 in 10 elderly people want to live at home for as long as possible, according to the AARP.
There are many reasons why a person might choose to age in place rather than move to an assisted living center or other communal living arrangement: cost, independence and the level of personal care needed all have a role in the decision-making process.
One of the most obvious reasons why individuals might choose to live at home instead of in a communal facility is that it’s what they’ve always known. Living in their own home is what they’re used to; it’s comfortable. They can sleep in their own bed, use their own kitchen, enjoy the window views they’re familiar with and more. Whether it’s in Lynden, Ferndale, Bellingham, Everson or somewhere else, home is… home.
Related: Is your mom or dad ready for care?
Here are some other simple – but important – reasons why people might want to age in place:
- Not having to share sleeping spaces. Among the simple benefits of living at home is not having to share a room with other elderly residents. Living at home means more privacy, more individual freedom. An at-home caregiver can provide services in support of the individual’s independence, offering as much or as little care as is desired.
- Being able to set the heat. Living at home means being in control of your home. It may seem simple to be able to set the heat to one’s desired comfort level, to listen to music (or not) when desired or to turn on or off the lights when needed. But in a communal living environment, those choices aren’t always possible. There’s good reason for that, of course; in an assisted living home, the needs of many people must be met at once. At home, there’s just one person whose needs are most important.
- Choosing what and when to eat. Communal living offers the convenience of having all meals prepared and served by someone else. That can free up an individual’s time for other activities. However, there’s some loss of choice in that, and many older people choose to have an at-home caregiver help with meal preparation – and even grocery shopping, too – to enable them to retain control over dining options.
- Maintaining easy access to family and friends. Living at home, there are no restrictions on visiting hours. There is no need to keep voices down, meet in shared spaces or limit who is allowed to visit. Instead, family and friends can continue to visit grandma as they always have – at grandma’s house.
Of course, these aren’t the only things to consider when deciding between aging in place or moving to an assisted living facility. Cost can be a factor, as can the amount of care needed and the ease of completing activities of daily living. For some people, medical or other needs are great enough that moving to an assisted living center is the right choice. For many others, an at-home caregiver can be brought in to provide whatever assistance is needed, extending the amount of time that older people can continue to live at home – which, as we’ve seen, many people want to do.