Plan for Aging in Place or Choose to Move to a Senior Setting

What's your plan to age independently and safely? Does it involve your home or a move to a senior housing community? A lot of us choose our homes over senior communities but for folks aging alone, that can be a difficult goal to accomplish, especially as we get older.

What I've done about it at the ripe "older age" of 65+ is to live at home in a condominium high-rise that's located in an urban setting. I have the best of both worlds. A small personal space of my own, lots of neighbors nearby so I don't feel isolated, and in the middle of easy, accessible shopping and entertainment. It's perfect for me.

But it's not a lifestyle that I came into easily. It took years of planning, saving money, being patient, and a lot of research and due diligence. I never experienced high-rise living until my sister moved to one and loved it so much that I started envying her lifestyle. It was a heck of a lot more fun than the suburbs.

What about you? Where are you in the process of the living decision? Would a senior living community feel like home to you? I asked that question to readers and here what a few say about the topic:

"I have not lived in a home or community for the 55 & above age group, but I have worked in an assisted living home and for people that can't do things themselves anymore it is good.  Some of the residents feel useless because they can't afford to have interests and hobbies. It's all about work to them.  Once they can't work anymore all they want to do is die.  They just don't know how to have fun & enjoy themselves.  Some of the other residents just gossip about each other just like in 3rd grade. I do not want to live in senior housing, I would rather be homeless than live that close to other people." LB

I hear you, LB, my high-rise may have the same issues -- being gossipy and talking about others behind their back. But guess what? I don't now, nor will I ever pay attention to pettiness. So, I guess community living is right up my alley.

LN says, "I plan to move into a retirement home when I feel I can no longer manage the stairs.  But, the main reason I will move is that I have no children to leave the house to.  It is worth a lot of money and I want to spend my house investment before I die!"

That sounds like a good plan, LN.

JA tells me, "Carol, I don’t want no senior living community. I am too busy with my young friends and my active life."

That's great, JA.

DF adds, "I moved into a Continuing Care Community almost 6 years ago, on the day that it opened.  I am incredibly happy here and often say that this is the best decision I have ever made.   There are about 580 units and nearly 800 people. There are so many activities that you couldn't possibly do all of them.  It is often difficult to decide what to do since more than one is offered at the same time.  And yet, we aren't required to do anything except push our "check in" button each morning. I was one of the younger people to move in (I had just turned 67) and while there are people younger than I, most of them are in their eighties.  Quite a few are in their nineties and a few over 100. I love the people here.  Well, most of them!  But with nearly 800, it isn't a problem to surround myself with good friends."

I've gotten so many replies to the question, "Would a senior living community feel like home?"

Here's CL's comment, "What I miss when aging alone at home is just 'being' with others in a family-like setting. Sharing coffee or dinner or all watching a movie or playing board games. Not being in each other's pocket but comfortably there together. Most of my friends are in their late 40's early 50's. We seem more compatible. My problem with traditional 'elder' communities is that most of the time the social setting revolves around things I have no interest in. I don't want to play mahjong. My idea of fun is driving up 3 hours to go to a classic cocktails class with my 40 year old friends and discussing politics, dogs and animation. I think that age tends to polarize. A lot of younger folks want us away from their lives. We are creepers, or no fun, or a group to whom they can not relate. I find myself having the same feelings with my older friends in the 60's and 70's so I get it. It is an "interests thing," an intellectual and focus thing.  So yes, co-living excites me in that I have a choice to join the crowd or can stay in my apartment and read my beloved books." 

There are more comments but as you see the place you live is personal.

And before you start a plan a move or decide to stay where you are, you have to learn what to look for and whether a house or a community will meet your needs. That's why I've written a 29 page kit called The Basics of Aging in Place - What you Need to Know

What to look for:

  • Functionality: Can you navigate your home safely?
  • Location: Is the home in a community that easy access to friends and family and things you enjoy doing?
  • Safety: Will you be able to get help in an emergency?
  • Services: Are there nearby services you'll want or need, such as medical care, shopping and entertainment?
  • Affordability: Can you afford to live in a private home and pay for your other expenses? Maybe a move is necessary but maybe not - maybe all you need to do is make a few home modifications.

Read more about the kit that helps you age in place: Basics of Aging in Place Kit is filled with home modification ideas and how to pay for them. All for $5.99. Plus, you'll learn how to:

  • Utilize technology to stay safe and connected.
  • Hire private duty care. A home companion for someone who lives alone (or couple) can do light housework or cooking, take you shopping.
  • Arrange transportation. Find all options.
  • Have food delivered if you can't cook.

Understanding the living options and your potential future needs is the first step. Then, you need to understand your health care requirements. You may prefer to stay where you are, at home but doing so may require expensive modifications and changes. 

Just be aware of what's needed. 

Stay connected with news and updates!

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