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Aging in Place vs. Aging in Community

Housing | February 26, 2024

A senior considering aging in place vs senior living.

Navigating where to live as we age can be challenging. The importance of this decision grows significantly over time, and finding the ideal residence becomes a key concern for older adults. Determining your ideal residence can change based on your personal lifestyle and needs. 

Both aging in place and joining a senior living community are great options, but each can present a unique set of advantages and challenges. It’s important to find the right fit for you or your loved one, so let’s explore the pros and cons of aging in place and spending your golden years in a senior living community.

The Pros and Cons of Aging in Place

Aging in place is defined as staying in your own home or ideal community as you get older, but that practice comes with some caveats when you age in place on your own. 

While there are plenty of seniors who would love to stay in their forever home, aging in place isn’t right for everyone. To start, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” Living alone can be good or bad depending on the situation, so it’s crucial to weigh the benefits and drawbacks to see if it’s right for you or your loved one.

The benefits of aging in place

  • Familiarity – There’s comfort in coming home to someplace you’ve known for years. You already know every nook and cranny, and that knowledge can be very appealing.
  • Emotional attachment – Home is where the heart is. Happy memories can be hard to leave.
  • Long-term costs – A new home can mean new expenses if you’re close to or done paying off your mortgage. That can make aging in place less expensive from a housing perspective.
  • More control over the environment – Ever want to overhaul your backyard or start a big project? It’s your house, which means you can do what you want with it. 
  • A sense of independence – People don’t like being tied down. Living at home can give seniors a sense of independence that they enjoy (even if the idea that you lose your independence by moving into independent living is a myth).

The drawbacks of aging in place

  • Home maintenance – Living at home means that you have to take care of that home. Yardwork, home projects, and cleaning don’t get any easier as you get older – in fact, they can be a lot harder.
  • Isolation – Aging in place can be a lonely experience, especially if you aren’t as mobile. Unless you actively leave your home, the lack of human connection can drain your mental and emotional health.
  • Health and safety risks – Another aspect of living alone at home is that it can be more dangerous. Slips, falls, and other accidents can leave seniors in a major bind, especially if they have trouble with certain activities of daily living.
  • Family burden – If a senior needs help with maintenance or other projects, they may need their family to pick up the extra work. If it takes a lot of assistance to age in place, it can take a toll on your family’s overall wellbeing.
  • Less access to support or activities – When you live at home, odds are that you’ll need to drive or have someone come over for specific needs or fun, whereas a community may have more options available.

The Pros and Cons of Senior Living

The benefits of senior living 

  • Maintenance-free living – Have a leaky faucet or a plumbing issue? No problem. Living in a community means that someone else will take care of maintenance and repairs for you.
  • A safer living environment – Senior living communities are built to make everyday life safer and easier for older adults. Everything from built-in grab bars to professional security systems can help provide people with added support and peace of mind. Some types of communities such as memory care can even have 34-hour staffing support.
  • Social engagement – Being able to be in close proximity with other seniors can help you stay social and build new friendships.
  • Meal options – Depending on the community, you don’t have to worry about preparing your own food. Different kinds of community settings can help you enjoy flexible dining options. Some, providing three meals a day without ever having to turn on an oven or stovetop.
  • Professional care – Some seniors need regular assistance with ADLs. Joining an assisted living community can give you access to professional care that takes care of specific needs on a daily basis. Certain independent living communities can even offer private duty services for ever support.
  • Various amenities – Most homes don’t have access to dining halls, rec centers, and other amenities. Depending on your community, you can have several top amenities available for your enjoyment.
  • Access to other services – Senior living communities can help open up access to all sorts of partners. Depending on the community, you may have access to primary care, therapy, hospice, and other types of services.

The drawbacks of senior living

  • The moving process – Moving into a new place can be a difficult, tiring experience, although downsizing can help make the process easier for everyone involved.
  • The adjustment period – It can take time to get used to a new home and routine. That adjustment can be off-putting until you get used to living in a new space.
  • Costs – Moving to a senior living community is another expense to cover housing and services. That can be a drawback for some seniors, especially if you’ve already paid off your home mortgage.
  • A seeming loss of independence – Some people feel like they lose their independence when living in a community, although many of the services, amenities, and other benefits that can give people even more freedom than they had before.

Find the Right Housing Solution for You

No matter where you or your loved one calls home, it’s important to spend those golden years in a place that supports a happy, independent life. Whether you or your loved one decides to age in place or move into a senior living community, National Church Residences can help.

Ready to move into a community? Browse our locations today to find a community near you. Need support in the comfort of your own home? Reach out to us about home health care services and private-duty caregiving.

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National Church Residences does not discriminate against individuals based on race, color, disability, familial status, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, payment source, or any other class protected by applicable law, whether in employment or its activities, programs, or services. National Church Residences also does not discriminate based on age, except as required by government entitlements or permitted by applicable law for seniors.