It’s no surprise many seniors express desires to age in place for the freedom and familiarity it supplies. While it’s a preferable lifestyle, there are many barriers that older adults may face.
That’s not to say that older adults can’t age safely and comfortably in their homes. It’s helpful to take a look at the potential barriers older adults may face so they can assess their situation and create aging in place programs that work for them.
This blog explores some aging in place challenges that older adults may face.
Aging in place can be costly, and older adults should have a financial plan. Some challenges include:
- High Healthcare Costs. Healthcare is essential to successfully aging in place, but hiring in-home caregivers comes with a high price tag. Frequent visits to doctor’s offices and taking multiple prescription medications can also rack up high bills.
- Limited Retirement Savings. Seniors without sufficient retirement savings may face more financial challenges of aging in place. They should consider alternative ways to receive the help they need, such as utilizing family caregivers instead of hired health care services.
- Property Taxes and Maintenance. Even if the mortgage is paid off, homeowners must still budget for and pay property taxes and for maintenance needed around the property, and this doesn’t stop as you get older. Proper financial planning will help with staying on top of these costs.
Lack of Accessible Housing
Accessible housing can make or break the aging in place experience. Accessibility issues include:
- Inadequate Home Modifications. Home modifications are a way for older adults to increase the accessibility of their homes. Not having the correct home modifications can create safety concerns for aging in place, especially for seniors with limited mobility. To learn more about home accessibility, check out our blog on aging in place home modifications.
- Lack of Affordable Senior Housing. Some people might be interested in senior housing options that provide the benefits of aging in place without the issue of remodeling their current home. While moving into a home designed for seniors can be attractive, this housing is another expense not everyone can afford in retirement.
- Location and Transportation. Seniors in rural areas face aging in place challenges involving transportation and location. Distance from healthcare facilities and emergency services is a common barrier to seniors aging in place in rural communities.
Health and Mobility Issues
Health and mobility issues are common barriers that older adults face with aging in place. Some of these issues include:
- Physical Disabilities. Seniors with physical limitations need appropriate home modifications and additional support. Those with physical disabilities and mobility issues can age in place successfully with extra consideration and planning.
- Cognitive Decline. Cognitive decline is a concern for many older adults and creates barriers to aging in place. These seniors need extra attention and may eventually find it necessary to have a full-time caregiver.
- Social Isolation. According to the CDC, social isolation puts older adults at higher risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions. Older adults aging in place should consider ways to combat this, such as through regular social interactions with their community and family members.
Caregiver and Support Network
A caregiver and support network can increase the quality of life for seniors aging in place, but they may face challenges, including:
- Affordability and Availability of Caregivers. In cases where professional caregivers are too expensive, older adults might look to family members to fill that role. If seniors don’t have anyone available to be a family caregiver, they may find it difficult to age in place.
- Family Dynamics. Family dynamics can create a barrier to aging in place for older adults. Seniors with strained family relationships will want to turn to their communities for support.
- Support Services. Support services help prevent social isolation and barriers to aging in place, as long as they’re available. Aging adults can turn to support services when they have trouble finding available caregivers and family members are not able to fill this need.
Emotional and Psychological Factors
Emotional and psychological barriers to aging in place include:
- Fear of Loneliness. Since social isolation has health implications and increases the chances of dementia in older adults, fear of loneliness might lean seniors away from aging in place. Staying involved in the community and attending social events can help alleviate this fear.
- Mental Health Challenges. Mental health is equally important to physical health, especially for seniors’ overall well-being. If their mental health can’t be maintained living at home, this could be a barrier to aging in place.
- Loss of Independence. Seniors with complex medical conditions, mobility issues, or disabilities need extra assistance with daily activities and will need to utilize in-home healthcare services or family caregivers. If they have limited access to these resources, aging in place will be challenging.
While there are many common barriers to aging in place for aging adults, there are also various solutions to these challenges. A home delivery pharmacy is one such solution and an invaluable service for seniors aging at home.
PersonalRX, for example, delivers your medication in daily, time-of-day dose packs so you’ll never miss a dose. Additionally, each patient is assigned a dedicated Personal Care Provider who assists with medication management and is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about your medications.
To learn more about aging in place and how you can overcome these most common barriers, check out our blog, How to Prepare for Aging in Place, which can help seniors assess their current and future needs and make a plan.