Older adults prefer to age in place if they are able. After all, their home is filled with years (or decades) worth of cherished memories.
They could also face the daunting task of thinning out their belongings and packing everything to move. Thankfully, a retirement home doesn’t require such an effort.
A lot goes into planning for retirement – ensuring adequate life insurance, planning your finances, and determining if aging in place or moving to a retirement home will work best for you. Many of these choices will entail some level of disruption.
Choosing to stay in your home after you’ve hung up your work shoes is an attractive option, as it means you don’t have to uproot your roots and move into something unfamiliar. But it can also be emotionally and physically taxing.
A retirement home offers a much simpler alternative, as everything will be handled for you. You’ll be able to relax knowing that the upkeep of your home and garden is no longer your responsibility, and you can join in on communal activities without worrying about your property’s safety.
Many people choose to age in place because of the familiarity and comfort of living in their family home. This is an excellent option if your children live nearby and can help with caregiving tasks.
However, it’s essential to consider that maintaining a house will come with many maintenance costs. Especially on a fixed retirement income, these expenses can quickly add up.
Additionally, aging in place can require renovations to ensure safety and accessibility. This can include anything from installing handrails in the bathroom to widening doors for wheelchair access. These projects can be expensive and may also require you to make adjustments if you suffer from chronic health conditions like arthritis. As a result, it is often more cost-effective to move into a retirement home.
Keeping a home, even one modified for aging, in place can be expensive. Property taxes and utilities can take a significant chunk out of retirement income, and that money could be better spent on something else — like long-term care or a vacation.
It’s also important to consider the time and energy of maintaining a home. Adult children who live far away may find themselves handling this task for their parents, a role that could be better for everyone.
If you’re leaning toward a retirement community, look for places that cater to your interests. For example, if you enjoy reading or playing pickleball, prioritize communities that offer those activities. You can also explore roommate options if that’s important to you.
Many seniors remain in the family home well past retirement because it holds an emotional connection. However, this decision may not be the best for their health and well-being.
One of the most significant risks of aging in place is falling. If you fall in your own home, it can take hours or even days for someone to come and help you. A retirement home is staffed around the clock and offers medical care if you need it.
In addition, many retirement homes offer social activities geared toward senior citizens and designed to help keep seniors active and engaged. Frequent social interaction has been linked to a reduced risk for certain diseases and higher feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and well-being.