August 18, 2023

Aging in Place: Exploring the Benefits and Challenges

Caregivers | Patients

It is a common desire among American adults to age in place. As you get older, you may find that you want to explore the benefits of aging in place, or growing old in the comfort of your own home.

It is important to weigh the benefits and challenges of aging at home when considering your plans for your future, as this decision may not affect only yourself. Benefits of growing older at home include independence and the familiarity of your own home, there are critical considerations that should not be overlooked.

In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits and challenges of aging in place so that you can make an informed decision that’s right for you.

Pros of Aging in Place

There are many benefits of aging in place, including:

Independence and Familiarity

Aging in place in the comfort of your own home brings with it the elements of familiarity and independence. If you’re able to stay at home while you age, it eliminates the need to reorient yourself to a new environment as you grow older. You may find that you’re capable of taking care of yourself and your own needs in your home that you are accustomed to, and you may not need assistance with tasks and responsibilities thanks to this level of familiarity.

Emotional Well-Being and Sense of Belonging

Another benefit of aging in place is emotional well-being. When you have a routine that you’re familiar with, it can be jarring and stressful to be pulled from that. By opting to age in your home, you can limit emotional distress and hold onto your sense of belonging that comes with staying in your own home that you love and know so well.

Maintaining Social Connections and Support Systems

One other luxury that comes with aging in place is the ability to maintain social connections and support systems. This may be especially important to you if you have close relationships with your neighbors and those around you. If you live somewhere with a tight-knit community, for example, chosing to grow older at home will be beneficial in staying connected.

Cost Savings and Financial Considerations

It’s also important to consider the cost savings you’ll benefit from when you or your family members aren’t paying for you to live in a retirement home or something similar. If you’re in a good position to age in place, you can save yourself and your family a decent amount of money.

Challenges of Aging in Place

There are also challenges and lifestyle changes that should be considered when considering aging in place as an option, such as:

Home Safety and Accessibility Challenges

As you age and your accessibility needs change, you may find yourself struggling to live comfortably in your home that no longer fits these needs. For instance, your home may have multiple staircases or your bedroom may be on a different floor than the rest of your living space. It is especially important to consider safety concerns that may arise, such as open staircases that are easy to fall down, or showers with tubs that you’re more likely to slip and fall in, for example.

Limited Access to On-site Care and Medical Support 

When you opt to age in place, you often won’t have medical support and on-site care readily available to you. If you have any serious health or medical conditions, it may not benefit you to stay at home while your age, especially if you wind up finding yourself in need of urgent medical care and realize that you have to wait before that support arrives.

Social Isolation and Loneliness Risks

A major concern of aging in place includes the elevated health risks associated with social isolation and loneliness. These include anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease. This is especially relevant if you find yourself suddenly living alone and don’t have regular visitors to keep you company.

Assessing Individual Suitability

While aging in place can be wonderful for some people, it may not be possible or make the most sense for others. Consider the following when assessing whether or not aging in place is right for you:

Personal Health and Mobility Considerations

Your personal health and accessibility needs should play a huge part in weighing the benefits and challenges of aging in place. If you are in good health and don’t have difficulty walking, sitting, standing, or climbing stairs, for instance, then you may find aging in home to be an acceptable option. On the other hand, if you have any serious medical conditions or find it difficult to maneuver on your own, then aging in place may not be the safest or best choice for you.

Availability of Support from Family and Friends

Aging in place can be a great option for those who have regularly available support from family and friends. It’s extra important to make sure that you have help when and where needed.

Home Health Care and In-home Support Services 

Personalized patient-centered care is required and aging Americans need help on a trajectory that is rapidly increasing. Hiring in-home support services, such as a caregiver, can help to combat many of the challenges of aging in place. However, help is expensive and out of reach for most, and when you decide to age in your home, assistive, adaptive and comprehensive medication management becomes a requirement.

Utilizing a patient-centered delivery pharmacy is a great solution that assists with aging in place. PersonalRX, for example, delivers your monthly supply of medication with personalized, individually packaged medication dose packs and a pre-made list of meds. The comprehensive list of medicine that PersonalRX provides makes it so medicine regimes are clear so doses don’t get mixed up or missed. PersonalRX also provides you with a dedicated Personal Care Provider who is available anytime if there are ever questions or if you need assistance getting your medication reliably.

Evaluation of Home Environment and Potential Modifications

Your home may not be set up for you to properly age in place. In this case, you should evaluate if you’re able to make adjustments to your home to accommodate your changing accessibility needs and allow this to help you make an informed decision on whether or not aging in place is right for you.

Access to Local Community Services and Resources

You need to consider whether or not you’ll have access to local community services and resources when aging in place. You may not have family or friends who are able to help you at all times, and whether or not you have these resources handy can help you determine if aging in place is a good option or not.

Alternative Options for Aging in Place

If you’ve found that the challenges of aging in place outweigh the benefits, or if you believe that aging at home might not be the best fit for you, there are many other options that can provide you with the stability and lifestyle that you need as you grow older. Some of these options include:

Assisted Living Facilities and Senior Communities

Assisted living facilities and senior communities can be fantastic options for you, especially if you want to eliminate the risks associated with loneliness and isolation and a lack of accessibility in your living space. Many people find that these options bring a peace of mind that aging in place can’t provide for them.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

A continuing care retirement community can be a great option that provides the benefits of maintaining independence and a sense of belonging without lacking access to on-site medical care and support. You may find that this option combines the pros of aging in place while meeting your needs that growing older at home might not be able to.

Making Informed Decisions

When comparing the benefits and challenges of aging in place, you should ultimately consider your personal preferences and values and weigh the financial implications of all options. Having a discussion with loved ones and healthcare professionals can also help you decide whether or not the pros of aging at home outweigh the challenges, and help you plan for your long-term care needs.

Aging in Place | FAQs

What are the benefits of aging in place?
Independence and familiarity, emotional well-being, cost-savings, and maintaining social connections are some of the benefits of aging in place.
What impact does aging in place have on emotional well-being and a sense of belonging?
Aging in place increases emotional well-being as you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home.
What are the disadvantages of aging in place?
Loneliness and isolation, home safety and accessibility challenges, and no on-site access to medical care are some potential disadvantages of aging in place.
What safety and accessibility challenges may arise when aging in place?
You may need to modify your home to accommodate accessibility challenges that may arise when aging in place, such as moving living spaces to the main floor level to avoid stairs or install railings in tubs and bathrooms.
How can limited access to on-site care and medical support affect aging in place?
Limited access to on-site care and medical support can make aging in place more challenging if you have any serious medical conditions or need regular medical support.
What role do family and friends play in supporting aging in place?
Family and friends can assist in caretaking and modifying your home so that you can comfortably and safely age in place.
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