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A Guide to Aging in Place: Growing Older on Your Own Terms

When it comes to aging in place, what's important is not just to sustain quality of life, but also to improve it whenever possible. Seniors typically prefer to age in place in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, but senior living communities can often times make aging in place a more comfortable and less stressful experience.

What is aging in place?

The concept of aging in place is providing seniors the ability to live in the same setting - comfortably, safely, and as independently as possible for as long as possible. 

It’s important to plan long-term for the best place and option. Consider all the “what-if” scenarios that aging can bring both now and, in the future, including the possibilities for impaired loss of mobility, decline in cognitive ability, and the availability of a support system.   

The goal of aging in place is to minimize disruption, anxiety, and expense. It can be as simple as staying in your home with appropriate modifications and support, or planning just one move into a senior living community.

Where to age in place

Living at home for as long as possible is the ultimate goal for most people. It can be possible if you plan, modify your home, and establish a supportive network of family and home care providers.

The decision to stay in your home or transition to a senior living option is complex and influenced by health, mental, and financial factors. Housing options like living at home are affordable, accessible, and suitable that help make it easier and enable you to remain in your established community for a longer period of time.

Senior living communities like senior independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing can provide options for care that also help you maintain a level of independence you’re used to while keeping you safe and spare you from having to worry about home maintenance.

Things to consider when deciding where to age in place:

  • Where is the ideal place that will be safe that you’d like to live?
  • Are stairs, shower/bath access a safety concern?
  • Are you able to safely prepare healthy meals on your own or do you need help?
  • Can you handle household maintenance, or do you need support?
  • Do you need help with medication management?

The benefits of aging in place in a senior living community

It’s important to recognize when extra care is needed – whether it's giving up the hassle of home maintenance and trading in for an independent living community, needing a little extra care with the help of assisted living, or the need for more intense clinical care with skilled nursing.

 

When preparing to assess whether a senior care community is right for you, it’s important to take a look at whether or not it’s a reasonable or practical option. Senior living communities like independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing not only provide opportunities for extra care, they also can help minimize the likelihood of needing to move again.

Other benefits include a variety of recreational activities that are available in facilities, depending on your preferences and needs. Activities include movie and game nights, day field trips, happy hours, breakfasts, dinners, holiday celebrations, and senior-specific exercise classes. They also include transportation services, typically senior living facilities assist in getting seniors to and from doctor's appointments, grocery stores, and other places.


Independent living offers seniors the freedom where there are no worries about home maintenance. Assisted living facility is designed to help seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) which include bathing, dressing, and medication management.

Skilled nursing is better equipped to manage medical needs, regular therapy, IV medications, or the need for a ventilator or other forms of artificial respiration. Typically, skilled nursing residents would not be able to live at home due to their extensive clinical needs.

How to plan ahead

From the earliest working years, it is essential to make financial and economic plans so you can live out your retirement years in the best possible way.

In order to plan for retirement early, it is necessary to create a plan in your younger years and then change it, revise it, adjust it based on requirements and needs that develop throughout your life. For example, it’s common for age-related health issues to pop up over time. They can have an impact on your day-to-day life. Being prepared for these challenges can make the choice of where to age in place easier.

Budgeting is a crucial part of senior planning. There are expenses that you can be prepared for and others which may be unforeseen, especially with declining health. By planning ahead, you can create an outline with a rough estimate of what kind of care you will need and how you’ll pay for it.

Consulting with family members and professionals in advance can help develop a plan with staying at home or moving into senior living. Having expertise from a professional is beneficial, especially if you plan to downsize your home and move into a senior living setting.

Elderwood is there for you when aging in place independently may be becoming too much. We work to ensure there is minimal disruption in our residents’ lives – offering many options to age in place – even for those with progressive memory impairments. Two of our campuses offer all three levels of senior living options – independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing, while two other campuses offer both assisted living and skilled nursing. This allows senior couples with different needs to live close by and individuals to remain in the same community should their care needs change. Visit Elderwood.com to learn more.

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