When adults aged 50+ were asked in an AARP survey where they would like to grow older, 3 out of 4 said they wanted to stay in their homes and communities. Otherwise known as aging-in-place, it’s not an uncommon response. But the problem? Many of those surveyed didn’t see that option working out for them.
Pros of aging-in-place
Based on the principle of choice, the definition doesn’t have to be limited to one’s existing home. In fact, the physical structure is not as important as the desire to maintain independence and live as high a quality of life as possible - for as long as possible.
But as we grow older, aging can often create obstacles that stand in the way. Many of us will need support to make our chosen lifestyles happen. The great news is that the senior living world has multiplied the many options available today.
Why your current home may not work
Our existing homes may be multi-level with bedrooms located upstairs. Neighborhoods might be more suited for driving than walking, especially in the suburbs. And even if you put down roots and raised your children in the same home you live in now, things change. You might not want so much space. Old friends and neighbors move. And you may find yourself no longer connected on the street you once knew so well.
Other obstacles to aging-in-place may include:
- Inaccessible homes
Most homes in the U.S. were not constructed with aging in mind. Steps and stairs, narrow hallways and small bathrooms are often common remodeling projects that may be required. Even with simpler modifications, such as installing grab bars or touchless faucets, the expenses quickly increase.
- Inaccessible activities
To age well you need to remain active for both your physical and emotional health. The benefits include increased strength and mobility, better balance and circulation and improving cognitive functioning. Unfortunately, this can also be the time when we may find it harder to plan and get to activities.
- Home maintenance
Homeownership comes with many rewards but also the time and expense of upkeep. It’s no surprise that a maintenance-free life ranks high on a retiree’s wish list. Even if you hire the work to be done, it will still require your time and money.
As we grow older and our neighborhoods change, we may feel less safe. We may also no longer have as many friends and neighbors to rely on. Although security systems can be installed, it doesn’t provide the level of protection that many are looking for.
No longer driving or not as much is a choice that many older adults eventually make. But they still need transportation. Depending on whether you live in a city, suburb or rural area, you might find it a challenge to get where you need to go. You may no longer want to fight the traffic but find few options to take its place.
- Increasing isolation
One of the more influential elements on our overall health as we grow older is having positive social interactions. The benefits to both your physical and emotional health are well-documented. But we may lose friendships at the same time our opportunities to meet new people diminish.
How an independent living community supports aging-in-place.
One option for aging-in-place is to make your home in an independent living community. You can find everything you need to support the lifestyle that you desire and the amenities and activities are right outside your front door.
Consider whether these community benefits might be the answer for what’s lacking in your existing home or neighborhood:
- Your own home
You’ll still have the privacy and preference of living in your own home. Only now it will be the perfect size and space to age-in-place. If you ever should need modifications due to age, illness or injury, they’ve already been made.
- Maintenance-free lifestyle
No more shoveling sidewalks or mowing the grass. Any painting or roof repairs will no longer be your responsibility. And just imagine the free time you’ll enjoy by not having to arrange for any needed home chores.
- Opportunities for making new friends
If you thought making new friends would be hard, at an independent living community there are so many events and activities planned that the possibilities to meet your neighbors are almost limitless.
- Social activities and staying physically fit
Would you enjoy having someone else plan different social events and make all of the arrangements? That’s another benefit of community life. And the on-site gyms and exercise classes easily support your fitness goals.
- Delicious dining options
Are you ready to take a break from the meal planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning? There will be delicious and nutritious dining options available in your community. And when you’re doing the cooking, there’s a full kitchen in your home.
- Scheduled transportation
Most communities will provide transportation to medical appointments, shopping and entertainment excursions. If you live nearby a big city, it’s a pleasure to go to a museum or dinner and the theater without giving a thought to parking or traffic.
- Assistance if needed
Independent living is just that but it’s also nice to realize you have neighbors and other community staff members if you ever need help. It’s comforting to know that you can have your privacy but are never truly alone.
- Secured community
Consider those that offer both individual home security but also a safe and secured community. Many independent living residences are in a gated location or have on-site security to ease their residents’ minds.
At Ganton's Countryside, we support you to fully age-in-place by providing the perfect homes and community. From our social activities and amenities, you’ll make your own schedule. We just make it easy.
You’ll find all the opportunities to enrich your life with new friendships and experiences while enjoying a maintenance-free lifestyle and wonderful dining options. And it’s all just steps away from your beautiful home in a lovely neighborhood.