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Aging-in-Place vs Independent Senior Living Communities

It’s one of the most basic questions to decide when it comes to retirement planning: Should you move to an independent senior living community, or retrofit your house so you can live your remaining years in the family home? Answer: It depends.

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Aging-in-place design, sometimes called universal design, focuses on renovating homes to allow seniors and other mobility-challenged individuals to live in their home safely and comfortably as they age. In the right circumstances, the results are impressive but this strategy isn’t for everyone.

Redefining Independence

Traditionally, independence for seniors meant staying in the family home as long as possible. But with today’s active baby boomers hitting retirement in record numbers, independence now often means being able to get up and go anytime they want without being tied to the responsibilities of home ownership.

Moving to an independent senior living community relieves homeowners of all those time consuming household chores like lawn care, snow removal, home maintenance, and all the other mundane aspects of home ownership. In addition, rather than risk being isolated at home, they enjoy socializing, learning and being part of a community.

Aging-In-Place Cautions

As all seniors know, life doesn’t always happen as expected. Something as common as a knee replacement can make climbing stairs and bathing challenging, and suddenly your beloved family home can turn into an obstacle course before your very eyes.

Of course, with universal design options, many homes can be renovated to improve accessibility but that can be a long, expensive process and the changes you implement may still not be enough – depending on what life throws at you. Independent senior living communities are built with the needs of an aging population in mind so accessibility is already built in to all of the accommodations.

Here are some other important factors you should consider when determining whether an aging-in-place retirement strategy is right for you:

  1. Existing Health Conditions – If you already have a condition that limits your mobility or requires extensive monitoring, it may not be practical for you to remain in the family home for all of your retirement years. It may be in your best interest to set aside the funds you would have spent on major home renovations and instead use that money to move into a senior living community that could meet your needs over time.

  1. Caregiver Availability – Aging-in-place doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t need in-home assistance or care giving, particularly in your later years. It is important to think in terms of who will coordinate your care if you become ill. In addition, you should research the availability of both paid and unpaid caregivers in your area when making the decision to stay or go.

  1. Location and Security – Many seniors bought brand new homes in lovely neighborhoods many years ago, but sometimes neighborhoods decline. You may no longer have the security and safety you once did and friends and family may have already moved away. If the neighborhood and its amenities are no longer suitable, retirement may be the time for you to move on as well.

Are you or a loved one exploring independent living communities or assisted living facilities? Melrose Meadows is a certified assisted and independent living community in Iowa City, Iowa. We provide an independent, secure lifestyle for our residents in a vibrant, all-inclusive setting. Schedule a tour today to see if Melrose Meadows is a good fit for your future.

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