Is It Better to Age in Place or Move to an Assisted Living Community?

Even a healthy adult can face life-altering changes as they age. Individuals who also suffer from chronic health problems and mobility issues may find that these changes are more dramatic and happen earlier in life.

That’s why there are multiple options for older adults who need a place to live that can accommodate their needs.

Hitting a certain age doesn’t guarantee that a person needs to move into a nursing home. However, sometimes remaining independent comes with risks. Many older people are quite capable and only require a little assistance or some extra security. Assisted living provides an ideal middle ground for seniors who fall into this category.

If a loved one prefers to remain completely independent, they could consider these 10 changes senior citizens can make to lower their fall risk at home. Eventually, even these changes may not be enough.

Every senior citizen should weigh the pros and cons of assisted living and aging in place to ensure that they receive the care they need when they need it.

Should I Age in Place?

Aging in place refers to seniors who choose to remain at home during their golden years. They may have care providers come into their homes to administer services.

The benefits of aging in place include:

  • Sense of Independence

Staying at home allows seniors to retain a sense of independence. This can be ideal for mental health. Many people associate this level of independence with empowerment. They feel more dignified and have a greater sense of control over their daily lives.

  • Home is Familiar

Home is a familiar place. Many seniors have stayed in their homes for years, or even decades. They know every nook and cranny which can give them a sense of security. It can make them feel more stable and comfortable in their surroundings.

  • No Need to Downsize

Most seniors must downsize when they move into an elder care facility. That usually means offloading a lot of belongings and furniture. This can be devastating for many older adults.

  • Live Frugally if Needed

Whether you live in an assisted living community or stay at home, senior care costs money. Those who choose to age in place may find ways to lower costs by living frugally. This is especially true for seniors who own their homes.

The benefits can work well for some seniors, depending on their care needs. However, there are some downsides to aging in place.

  • Burden of Care May Fall on Family

Families will have a greater responsibility when it comes to checking in on seniors who are aging in place. Those who live alone may have no one present 24 hours a day to ensure that they haven’t fallen or had a medical incident. This can be stressful, especially for loved ones who aren’t trained to handle this type of care.

  • Higher Risk of Financial Fraud

Unfortunately, senior citizens are a vulnerable group when it comes to crimes like financial fraud. This is especially rampant today with scam callers convincing seniors to pay amounts they don’t owe or give them access to financial information.

  • Higher Risk of Fall Injuries

Fall injuries are a serious matter for older adults. An average of 20% to 30% of seniors in the United States suffer a bruise, hip fracture, or head trauma due to a fall. More than 38,000 people over age 65 died because of a fall in 2021. Homes aren’t usually as equipped for senior safety as assisted living communities are on average.

  • Medical Care and Assistance is Limited

Medical care will be limited at home. Unless you have a nurse on hand in your house, you will have to call someone or travel to receive medical attention. Many assisted living communities provide some services on-site, and they know how to get services to the location quickly when needed.

  • More Maintenance to Worry About

A home must be maintained. That includes the structure, interior, and lawn. These can be done by professionals, but each service will increase the cost of aging in place. The alternative is to have a family member handle things when the senior can no longer do so.

  • Higher Risk of Isolation

Seniors with health conditions or limited mobility may not be able to leave home. This can lead to isolation, which increases the risk of depression. Adults with severe depression have a higher mortality rate than those who have less or no depression.

Should I Move to Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities are designed for senior citizens who need some support but don’t require 24-hour medical care. They tend to favor a more residential environment compared to hospitals and nursing homes.

Staff members are available to help as needed, with each person receiving the level of care they require based on physical health and ability. An Arizona assisted living community can provide a good balance between independence and safety.

What are the benefits of assisted living?

  • Residents Have 24-Hour Support

Assisted living typically comes with 24-hour support. That means someone is present all day, every day and night to ensure that residents are safe and comfortable. You should check with the facility to confirm if someone is present 24 hours a day before moving in.

  • Increased Security and Senior Safety

Assisted living communities are built for safety and security. Locking doors and windows prevents unauthorized access. Many also have a front desk that monitors visitors coming in and going out of the facility.

  • Access to Senior Services and Programs

Staff in assisted living can help residents find services and programs that make their lives better. That may include programs offered by the facility as well as those available within the local community. These can range from medical services to activities, social opportunities, and classes.

  • No Housework or Home Maintenance

One of the biggest benefits of moving into assisted living is that everything is handled for the residents. They never have to worry about housework or home maintenance. There is no lawn to mow or laundry to wash. The facility does it all, including meal preparation, cleaning, and more.

  • One Monthly Payment Makes Finances Easier

Assisted living comes with a single monthly payment that covers all expenses. Residents don’t have to juggle bills or wonder if they forgot to pay something. It also leaves far less opportunity for financial fraud.

There are many ways that assisted living enriches the lives of aging adults. However, there are a few downsides as well.

  • Seniors Must Downsize and Move

Since assisted living rooms are typically not the size of a single-family home, many seniors may have to downsize. Moving can be difficult for elderly people. There are things loved ones can do to help with the transition, but it can be stressful until the senior settles in.

  • May Cost More Due to Included Services

The overall cost of assisted living may be greater than the cost of aging in place, especially for seniors who own their own homes. The tradeoff is that far more services are included.

  • Residents May Not Have Private Rooms

Depending on the facility, seniors may have a roommate. This may not be a bad thing for seniors who like to socialize but it can be an adjustment for those who like a lot of privacy.

You should ask “What services are included if I move into an assisted living community?” before making any final decisions. Knowing what a senior facility can do for you will help you make an informed decision about your care, or the care of an aging loved one.