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Aging-in-Place vs. Senior Living: Which Is Right for You?

It’s not surprising that 87% of seniors hope to live out their golden years at home. After all, home is where children are raised, wedding anniversaries are celebrated and holiday gatherings are hosted. In short, home is where the heart is.

However, aging-in-place (i.e., remaining in your home or a family member’s home) isn’t always the best senior living option. A slip or progressive health condition could quickly compromise a senior’s ability to live independently. Without the structured support of a senior living community, care will fall on the shoulders of a spouse or child.

At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we believe every senior deserves to choose where they live – whether at an award-winning continuing care retirement community (CCRC) or at home. However, there are various factors to consider before you decide to age-in-place. Continue reading to learn more.

Contents 


Social Interaction

After decades in the same home, you build a community of friends. You may have a close relationship with your neighbors, who often stop by for coffee and conversation. Or, you may host church gatherings or get-togethers for your garden club. Though aging-in-place allows you to continue nurturing these connections, it comes with a degree of risk.

If your health declines, entertaining guests will become difficult. As a result, you may feel isolated or lonely. Rather than organize fundraisers for church or shop with friends, you may spend your days napping or sitting in front of the television.

Senior living communities help older adults stay happy and engaged by offering a calendar of activities, programs and events. These activities range from kayaking to woodworking and encourage residents to nurture new connections. Of course, old friends are always welcome to visit, too.

We enjoy seeing our residents serve as one another’s extended family and support network.  We encourage this strong sense of community, and like our residents, we feel that we’re part of something very special at Havenwood Heritage Heights.


Self-Care

When a senior chooses to age-in-place, they may need no help whatsoever completing activities of daily living (ADLs) like cooking, cleaning and toileting. However, physical and cognitive abilities can degrade quickly. After a pulmonary embolism, for instance, an older adult can become winded just walking to the bathroom.

Unable to care for themselves and ashamed to ask for help, some seniors may neglect self-hygiene. They may rarely shower or resort to eating sodium-packed frozen meals. If a senior does ask for help, they may have to rely on an adult child to serve as a caregiver. Or, they may have to pay upwards of $5,243 per month for home health.

CCRCs allow seniors to age with dignity by offering a continuum of care. No matter what happens – whether it’s a heart attack or a fall – residents are afforded access to appropriate support.


Emotional, Spiritual, & Physical Well-Being

At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we take a holistic approach toward supporting our residents. As a diverse, faith-based community, we have a spiritual dynamic that places an importance on focusing on one’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.

Unlike a residential home, our campus is equipped with the staff, equipment, and space to provide holistic wellness support. We hold annual discussions to learn about our residents’ interests, ideas and input for ways to improve our community, and encourage feedback on a regular basis.


Cost

Many older adults who age-in-place think senior living is unaffordable. However, in most situations, community-style living is actually less expensive than remaining at home. That’s because the single recurring fee at a senior living community includes much more than just rent.

Typically, the monthly charge at a CCRC encompasses:

  • Home maintenance
  • Utilities
  • Trash removal
  • Landscaping
  • Housekeeping
  • Dining
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment
  • Access to high-quality care

If you were to age-in-place and pay for each of these services à la carte, you would fork out significantly more. You would also have to worry about remembering to pay for each bill – a common problem among seniors experiencing cognitive decline.

CCRCs simplify a senior’s finances by rolling all fees – from rent to housekeeping – into a single recurring expense. This expense can be managed by caregivers or automatically deducted from a bank account each month. In return, you save money and earn peace of mind.


Home Maintenance

Aging-in-place is about more than just logistics. An important benefit of remaining at home is that seniors can live in a place they know and love – a place full of memories and sentimental value.

But what happens when you can no longer maintain your three-bedroom farmhouse or downtown bungalow? Typically, when washing the windows and mowing the grass becomes onerous, many seniors hire someone else to handle these tasks. However, this can quickly become expensive.

At a CCRC, residents enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle. Since chores like vacuuming and cooking are handled by staff, you can spend more time doing what you love – whether that’s birdwatching or crocheting. Also, thanks to an all-inclusive fee structure, you don’t have to worry about paying different maintenance crews.


Home Upgrades

When you purchased your home, you may have adored the soaker tub in the master bathroom or the grand staircase in the foyer. But now that you’re older, these features make day-to-day life challenging.

Aging-in-place often requires making costly home modifications to create a safer and more accessible space. These modifications may include installing ramps for exterior stairs, widening doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, adjusting countertop heights, replacing flooring with anti-slip material and more. Depending on the extent of your remodel, you can expect to pay thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of dollars.

Fortunately, senior living communities are designed with mobility in mind. Resident apartments and cottages are outfitted with a variety of safety features, such as walk-in tubs and grab bars. These spaces can also be changed depending on your specific needs.


Senior Living Communities Promote Independence

When seniors begin exploring long-term care options, they often assume aging-in-place will offer a sense of independence. However, one paradox of aging-in-place is that you will end up relying on more people – friends, family, neighbors – than if you moved to a senior living community.

CCRCs promote independence by equipping residents with the tools they need. At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we’re always striving to help residents age with dignity. That’s why all of our cottages can be amended with handheld showers, support bars, lowered cabinets and more. In fact, our new North End cottages, constructed in 2014, were specially built to allow seniors to age comfortably in their homes.

In addition to stylish and functional housing, we offer residents a host of services and amenities, such as transportation services, housekeeping, chef-prepared meals and medication management. As a diverse, faith-based community, we also emphasize physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.


Aging-in-Place at Havenwood Heritage Heights

Earlier, we mentioned that 87% of seniors hope to age-in-place. That desire is about more than just logistics. Older adults crave a feeling of stability and consistency, as well as a sense of belonging to a community. These feelings can help us remain mentally strong as we deal with the changes that come with aging. Studies have shown that feeling happy about the place we live has an impact on our health.

We built our Concord, New Hampshire retirement community so that if aging-in-place isn’t an option, individuals would still find connections and purpose in our community. They are able to “age-in-place” within our community and reap all of the same benefits.

Because of our full continuum of care, residents may decide to transition temporarily to our Health Services Center to treat a medical condition. Or, they may opt to have care provided in their own home. Residents can also receive help with day-to-day tasks, transportation, meals and health care, all while remaining at home.

To learn more about aging-in-place at Havenwood Heritage Heights, contact us today. You can also talk to a member of our friendly staff by calling us at 800-457-6833.

By Mike Wall

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