Continuing to live in your own home is arguably one of the most important challenges older persons face as they age. The graph below clarifies how older adults conceptualize home through age-related lifestyle changes.
|Staying in Touch
|Longevity of residence
|Personalize activities and self-manage time
|Close to family
|Purpose and reason to keep busy
|Familiarity, peace of mind, and stability
|Sense of identity & place in the world
|Independence in everyday tasks
|Familiarity, peace of mind and stability
|Lack of interference from others
|Space for relaxation and restoration
These are crucial and very relevant facts that substantiate why older adults choose to remain in the home they live in now. The University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology has provided validation for aging in place:
“For many people, maintaining a sense of independence is essential, as it enables older adults to improve their quality of life. Aging in place allows older adults to retain a high level of control over their lives, as they can continue to live in familiar spaces. Those who are accustomed to satisfying basic needs, such as purchasing food, toiletries, and clothing in their neighborhoods, often find comfort in being able to manage these necessities independently. They may feel confident that they can continue to live their lives without frequent assistance, which may improve their quality of life.
In contrast, older adults who consider living with family members or in senior living communities may need to ask for help or for transportation to manage these daily necessities. A desire to avoid losing this aspect of independence may explain why so many older adults prefer to age in place.
Some older adults also find a high level of value in remaining close to their possessions. Those who have spent decades acquiring objects with high financial or sentimental value may not look forward to the prospect of parting with or even rearranging the objects to which they have grown attached. Aging in place often gives older adults the ability to continue enjoying what they value on their own terms, which may enhance independence and happiness.”
Essential is the decision as to what is right for you, your personal situation, your health, your abilities, and your finances. There are many options for creating a happy and healthy home that brings you joy and peace of mind. But only you can decide what those “key environmental components” are.
We are all going to grow older, so the sooner we start to consider the future and plan ahead the more likely we will achieve what is best for us. Take a good, hard look at where you live now and compare it to what you feel are the most valued factors in creating the home environment that you truly want.
Hatcher D, Chang E, Schmied V, Garrido S. Exploring the Perspectives of Older People on the Concept of Home. J Aging Res. 2019 Jun 18;2019:2679680. doi: 10.1155/2019/2679680. PMID: 31316834; PMCID: PMC6604296.
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Originally published December 21, 2023