As a senior, one of the toughest decisions you will need to make is between choosing to age in place within the comfort of your own home or choosing to move to a senior community. When asked, most seniors will say that they would prefer to age in place at home. Home is your memories, your community, your family, your sense of safety. It can be difficult to step back and ask if staying at home is truly best for your long-term wellness. When making the decision to age at home or move to a senior community, ask yourself these questions.
Do you have a support network at home?
Without a support network, aging at home can be a lonely experience. If you are healthy and active with friends and family nearby, the decision to age in place is an easier one. If your support network is not strong or if you are no longer comfortable driving a car, the decision is much more difficult.
As we retire and age, our circle of friends can diminish and living alone can be an isolating experience. As we lose our mobility through physical limitations or our inability to drive, we lose access to not only social activities but also to medical appointments. Moving to a senior community is an opportunity to make new friends and enjoy new experiences and take advantage of planned activities. Most senior communities also provide regular transportation to malls, grocery stores, movie theaters, doctors offices, and more.
It’s important to be honest with yourself when evaluating the strength of your support network and to be certain that friends and family can and will be there for you as your needs may increase.
Do you require home modifications?
As you age, most likely your home will require certain modifications. These modifications can range from installing grab bars for tubs to widening doorways for walkers or wheelchairs to installing ramps. Senior communities are built for seniors and are designed to be age-appropriate, safe and accessible. When debating between aging at home or moving to a senior community it’s important to consider if your current home can be modified to support a safe, accessible environment as you age.
Do you have access to proper meals and nutrition?
Cooking is a time consuming activity that can often seem like a chore, particularly if you are cooking for one. Are you good about eating healthy meals and getting proper nutrition? If not, a senior community may be a better choice.
Do you worry about the impact of your care on loved ones?
Often one of the biggest fears we have is the impact our care will have on loved ones. It’s important when making the decision wether to age at home or move to a senior community that you think through all of your questions and all of your fears and you talk these over with your family. Leaving a home is never easy, but ultimately you want to make the best decision for your long-term wellness.