It’s been known that most seniors want to stay at home as they age – about 94 percent, according to research from Home Instead, Inc. But, what it means to age in place is changing. Today, one in four older adults plan to move to a new home to age in place.
To help seniors make plans for where to age, Home Instead Senior Care® serving Sault Ste. Marie is introducing new resources to navigate options and select what “home” means for individuals.
“We know how important it is for older adults to feel a sense of independence as they age, and for many, that comes from being able to stay in the same home where they raised children and created a lifetime of memories,” explains Lisette Wirta, owner of Home Instead Senior Care serving Sault Ste. Marie. “But, we are also seeing a growing number of seniors who still seek a sense of independence by actively choosing a new home to live in as they age. Whatever their wishes, we want to help them feel empowered in that decision and provide the resources to help make a plan.”
The decision for some seniors to seek a new home as they age is a practical one, with the top desired features including single floor living (85 percent) and easy (84 percent) or low cost of maintenance (83 percent). For those who want to continue to age in their current homes, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) have also given thought to age-friendly modifications, such as adding grab bars to bathrooms or other safety measures.
Regardless of whether a senior chooses to stay in their current home or relocate to a new one, aging in place remains a top request to maintain the freedom and independence that comes from defining what “home” means to them.
According to Margaret Gillis, President at the International Longevity Centre Canada, it’s important to remember that it is the senior who should make the call regarding where they live. “Loved ones can overreact sometimes to various safety issues, and except in extreme circumstances, it is the older person’s right to make the decision on whether to stay or leave the home.”
While many older adults have given thought to how they will age in place – and know they want to stay at home in some way – many still have work to do when it comes to finalizing plans. Just one in four seniors surveyed report having specific plans for where they will live as they become older. That’s where Home Instead wants to help.
The new “Home Your Own Way SM” program from Home Instead Senior Care offers a wealth of free resources for seniors and families to assess needs and options, and to determine what aging in place might look like for them.
“There are so many factors to consider when having conversations about not only where you may want to live as you age, but also what makes sense,” says Wirta. “Those topics include not only the physical space, such as safety precautions in the actual dwelling, but the emotional elements such as memories, companionship and sense of community. We want to help seniors think through both of those aspects and determine what fits their needs and how to make sure their choice fulfills each area.”
For most older adults who desire to stay in their homes – either a current or new home – some seek assistance to make it possible. A professional caregiver can help address the physical demands of aging, such as personal care or Alzheimer’s care, as well as the emotional aspects, like companionship.
Whether seniors age in their current home, downsize, move to a senior living community or choose to live with relatives, the goal of the Home Your Own Way program is to help them make an active and informed choice in where to live as they age.
To learn more about defining home your own way, visit [www.HomeYourOwnWay.ca] or, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office or www.homeinstead.ca for details on how seniors may navigate this important life decision.
 Home Instead, Inc, franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network fielded an online survey of 1,000 North American homeowners aged 55-75 years. Of these 1,000 respondents, 899 live in the United States and 101 live in Canada. Sampling was conducted to balance age, gender and geographic region. The survey was fielded between November 21 and November 30, 2018. The survey was not in the field over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, November 22-25.