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Aging in Place: Pros Don’t Always Outweigh Cons, Expert Says

October 20, 2010

We talked a lot about aging in place last week. Many people consider this—remaining in your own home as you age—to be the ideal arrangement. But there are down sides, and some people argue aging in place shouldn’t be as revered as it is.

The University of Florida’s Dr. Stephen Golant suggested just that while speaking on a panel about aging and community development, reports the blog Washington Grantmakers Daily. Aging in place can be lonely, he said, and care may be lacking—even from loved ones: “Family members are not born good caregivers, Golant pointed out, just as people aren’t born good lawyers or doctors.” Plus, many seniors have trouble affording their homes, Golant said. He also talked about the negative effects aging in place can have on communities.

Held real estate is not available to younger generations. State and federal real estate tax revenue is lower for seniors. Remodeling businesses don’t typically receive business from seniors and moving companies suffer. And, retirement destinations and communities feel the negative economic impact from senior choosing to age in place.

With all of this in mind, Golant pointed out that aging in place is indeed a viable and healthy option for many people, but certainly not for everybody.

And it’s not like seniors who choose to move all have to go to nursing homes, Golant said. They can move to a smaller residence, move in with family or choose some type of retirement community. You can read the full post here: “Aging in Your Own Home—the Wrong Ideal?”

What do you think of Golant’s assertions?  Does aging in place need to be knocked off its pedestal, or at least jostled around a bit?

You may also be interested in this previous OurParents post: “When Aging in Place Isn’t an Option: Easing Nursing-Home Guilt.”

If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2010 9:37 am

    Obviously, aging in place is not for everyone. Neither is what I sometimes call the “senior storage” option. Bill calls it “industrial caregiving.” However, this presentation debunking aging in place seemed to be economically motivated–and the concern was not really the seniors’ economics, but the senior care industry’s.

    I’ve seen a number of studies over the last several months asserting that the cost of aging in place is much lower than the cost of institutional senior care. I think this will become more and more true as aging in place is more recognized as a viable option, and family caregivers are provided needed support and economic compensation for their work with aging family members (as is currently offered in some states).

    Thanks for bringing this presentation to our attention, Leigh Ann. It is clear that there are many vested interests aligned against this option that 90% of boomers favor for their own aging.

    Carol
    Inside Aging Parent Care

    • October 20, 2010 1:32 pm

      Hi, Carol. Good point about aging in place being cheaper than many other senior-care options. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      Leigh Ann
      Blogger, OurParents

  2. October 20, 2010 7:41 pm

    Hi Leigh Ann and thank you for the informative article *
    Aging in place is something that is as mentioned less expensive * My siblings and I discuss that and
    still had to weigh just a few weeks back * I could save money every month and still pay a family member a nice cash salary every week * (Most “assisted living in our area are
    approx. 4-6k a month ( before addit. svcs.) *
    But there are just evident facts about the situation that we all try to stay balanced with..
    1) The money we are spending .. they made ! It is their money * It may cost hundreds of thousands
    of dollars in their older years .. but they worked to make it !

    2) Really important ! What I call the 3 questions !! .. a) safety b) nutrition c) socialization !

    You may have a handle on safety and even nutrition in the beginning .. and you see them when you come home from work .. but my mom was alone commonly 9-12 hours a day *

    As their faculties diminish .. so go’s their ability to do the once easy tasks . They may not come back
    either .. leaving your older loved one lonely .. and possibly hungry..not terribly clean !..confused *

    God bless all of you who are challenged every day with a task of taking care of someone 24/7*
    ( Caregivers lose health themselves — so be well and be strong !)

    You will watch your situation change .. life is adapting . You must be objective enough with your
    own perspective to make good judgments .. trust your instincts !

    If you feel there needs to be a change . write it down * Talk to your family members about the
    options * You may need to get some info or assistance * That’s OK ** These are tools we don’t have in our “toolbag” yet .. we are learning .. even when we are older too !

    Remember you are assisting a person who took care of you..what’s that saying .. from diapers to
    diapers * That’s just life ! see my old “mum” at http://www.briankgallagher.com
    Thanks * Stay lucky *
    Brian K.Gallagher

    • October 20, 2010 10:59 pm

      Thank you, Brian, for pointing out some of the complexities involved in eldercare and in choosing the solution that’s right for you and your family. Thank goodness there are at least some options these days because there’s no right choice for everyone.

      Leigh Ann Otte
      Blogger, OurParents

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