In many retirement circles, it’s sold as an ideal. But aging in place, or living out the rest of your years at home, is not always in your best interest.
In many cases, moving to a senior community or an independent living facility may offer financial, social and emotional advantages.
Consider the following obligations associated with aging in place:
- Home maintenance. As you age, so does your home. Repairs and updates are costly, disruptive and time consuming. Coordinating, managing and paying professionals also demands cognitive acuity, which is draining for many seniors. Scams are also ubiquitous, and older people are a number one target.
- Community changes. Even stable communities have turnovers as young people move in and older people pass on. When neighborhoods change, social connections are often disrupted and can be unsettling.
- Empty house syndrome. A large family home bustling with activity is socially and emotionally reassuring. But an empty house can feel bittersweet.
- Social isolation. An empty nest, new and usually younger neighbors, and mobility challenges typical in aging can result in isolation and loneliness. Limited access to other seniors and fewer opportunities for social interaction can lead to depression that is sadly too common amongst retirees. While often associated with other age-related medical conditions, feelings of sadness and worthlessness can be triggered by social isolation.
Aging place is often touted as an ideal by government agencies. But their incentive is usually more financial than anything else: long-term senior care facilities are far more costly for state and federal agencies to run than keeping people in place and supporting them via in-home programs.
At the same time, moving to a senior facility can also cause financial and emotional problems. And, unfortunately, not all facilities provide quality care, trained staff and stimulating senior activities and programs.
Careful planning, family support and extensive reviews of possible places to move to are critical to a successful transition. Younger retirees who choose to move to a senior community early on, rather than in response to a debilitating illness or emergency, retain control over their environment and are thus usually happier than those pushed to move.
Senior communities can provide:
- Engaging programming with fellow seniors. New social circles are vital in keeping older people mentally and physically healthier. Studies have shown benefits to include lower blood pressure, lower rates of mental illness, and possibly-reduced risks of developing Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
- No more cooking or cleaning responsibilities. The burden of daily responsibilities are often lifted in senior communities while support for daily routine is provided for the later years, as needed.
- Zero home maintenance responsibilities. After years of juggling jobs, children and home projects, senior communities offer care-free lifestyles that can be liberating to retirees.
The choice of where and how to age is extremely personal and based on individual factors. What is important is making sure to choose what is right for your circumstance. It is not a sign of weakness or surrender to move to a community any more than staying in your family home is. Your needs, wishes, health condition, financial situation, and happiness is all that matters.
At Silverman Financial, we work with you to evaluate your retirement living options based on your personal portfolio and situation. We work with you before and throughout your retirement years to support your choices, needs and wishes.