Independent Living vs. Aging in Place: Weighing the Pros and Cons
Earlier this year, the University of Michigan conducted the National Poll on Healthy Aging. The findings show that the majority of older adults say that they want to age in place. However, the reality is that most people have not considered what it will take to do so successfully.
That’s why we want to look at the pros and cons of aging in place versus moving into an independent living senior community.
Accessible Spaces vs. Home Renovation
The family home isn’t always an age-friendly place to live. Going up and down the stairs gets harder over time. Climbing in and out of the tub is tough on the knees. Doorknobs become more difficult to grasp.
Of course, you can remodel your home to better accommodate your current and future needs. You can build out a downstairs bedroom or install an elevator if space and budget allow. You can remodel the bathrooms to include sit-in tubs or barrier-free shower stalls. You’ll also want to change out the doorknobs for lever-type door handles. While you’re at it, be sure to widen the doorways for wheelchair access and put in an outdoor ramp.
Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? That’s why many seniors make the decision to move into an independent living community that is designed with accessibility in mind. Apartments are already equipped with safety features and easy-to-use fixtures. Open floor plans accommodate wheelchairs and rollators. Everything is move-in ready for you.
Maintenance Free vs. Ongoing Upkeep
Every homeowner has mumbled and grumbled about upkeep and chores. In fact, home maintenance is another driving factor for seniors who choose to move into an independent living community instead of aging in place. The costs for interior fixes and exterior beautification are built into the monthly fees. All of those worries are gone.
If you are concerned about leaving your yard and garden behind, look for an apartment with a balcony or patio.These spaces can give you the joy of being outdoors, without the work. Imagine having the time to simply soak up the sun, listen to the birds and relax in the fresh air. Residents here at Topeka Presbyterian Manor appreciate that we’ve created this kind of pleasant environment.
New Friends & Activities vs. Same Old, Same Old
As we age, we see our neighborhoods change. The busy home down the street is now an empty nest. New families start moving in. The annual pig roast is no longer a big party, having become a smaller and more sedate affair.
We have to ask ourselves if we still love where we are, or if it’s time for new people, places and things. Especially if boredom and loneliness have set in. Aging successfully means staying engaged with life. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points to social isolation as a serious health risk.
Moving to an independent living community can be a cure-all. You will enjoy a calendar of social events, day trips, worship services, club meetings and more. There will be opportunities to explore new interests and double-down on your favorite pastimes. Onsite amenities also make it easier to get your personal needs met in one place.
Monthly Fees vs. Annual Costs
According to the most recent data available, a Place for Mom estimates that the average cost for independent living is $2,552 per month.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that people aged 55 to 64 spent an average of $57,180 per year on housing, food, utilities, healthcare, and household upkeep in 2020. That’s $4,765 per month. Almost twice the median cost for independent living.
Moving to a senior living community is primarily funded by your retirement savings, proceeds from the sale of your current home, or a reverse mortgage. Topeka Presbyterian Manor can help you compare costs with an easy-to-use worksheet.
The Bottom Line
Now is the time to weigh the pros and cons of moving into an independent living community versus aging in place. Being well-informed will help you make the right decision for your personal situation.
Take time to review the links below, as well as the Topeka Presbyterian Manor resources page. Let us know how we can help you enjoy the best years of your life!