3 Concerning Aging in Place Myths That Must Be Debunked

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Aging in place is a rapidly growing trend as more and more seniors choose to remain in their own homes as they age. However, many misconceptions surrounding this topic can lead to dangerous assumptions, negative stereotypes, and misguided decision-making.

Let's start debunking common myths and highlighting the truth behind aging in place, a best-kept retirement secret!

Older man and woman having fun at home

Myth 1: Older Adults Are Better Off in Retirement Facilities

Happiness and quality of life are better at home, and many benefits make it the preferred choice for almost 90% of older adults, according to AARP.

Let's look at this from the 30,000-foot viewpoint.

Perhaps the most significant benefit of retirement is freedom. It's freedom from years and years of schedules, deadlines, and responsibilities during the working years.

The retirement years are supposed to be the reward for decades of hard work and dedication. It's the time to do what you want, when, and where you want. Hmmm....which hobby will you pursue first?

Most people like to choose their preferred retirement schedule after spending most of their life doing what others need at specific times. This is why one of the biggest complaints of people living in senior living communities is not having the freedom to do what they want when they want to.

Some people thrive on a more defined schedule, but it certainly isn't the majority of folks I've met. Most love to do their own thing in their own home with this new level of freedom found in retirement.

Today's seniors are more active than previous generations of retirees. They want to maximize their retirement years for as long as possible and only consider assisted living and nursing home options when they need them for personal care, usually due to acute or chronic medical conditions.

Seniors playing hopscotch

Myth 2: Aging in Place is Lonelier

Many people believe that seniors who choose to remain at home and age in place will inevitably become isolated. But that's simply not true! There are many ways for seniors to stay engaged and connected within their community.

Remaining in your own community, keeping strong personal connections, continuing current activities, and trying a few new ones in a place you feel comfortable are some of the greatest benefits of aging in place. Most older adults can't imagine leaving their home, neighborhood, friends, neighbors, church family, and relatives that they have come to love over their lifetime.

Everyone's situation is different, but remaining active and involved is easier than ever, thanks to the internet and virtual participation opportunities.

Of course, support from family and friends is also essential in maintaining social connections and combating isolation. Also, the ability to drive or access transportation services is another critical factor in engaging in and participating in social events and activities in the community.

Older couple dancing at home

Myth 3: Seniors Lose Independence by Aging in Place

This one is near and dear to my heart. Have you heard the myth that seniors lose their independence by choosing to age in place? My experience as a physical therapist for over 25 years, whose job it is to help people maintain their independence, has shown that the opposite is true!

There are many factors involved in caring for yourself and your home. Some physical activities provide an opportunity for regular exercise. But the fact is that it keeps you active and moving, critical to maintaining your independence as you age. More activity also enhances mobility, physical health, and well-being. There's a snowball effect with so much upside.

So, instead of losing independence, seniors maintain and, sometimes, gain independence while aging in place, depending on their unique situation.

One thing that I know for sure is that independence is very motivating. Since the loss of independence is one of the main fears of aging, the human spirit fights tooth and nail to maintain it. This is a very motivating and powerful driver for most older adults.

In a retirement community, the facility takes care of many responsibilities. So, over time, many seniors become less independent because they don't need to do daily activities like they used to at home.

Creating a home environment to support and empower retirement independence is an impactful yet underutilized way to boost and maintain independence at home.

Happy woman dancing to music

Final Thoughts and Next Steps for Common Aging in Place Myths

Aging in place can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience for older adults. By debunking common myths surrounding this lifestyle choice, seniors can be empowered to live independently and safely in their own homes for as long as possible.

How do you make your home environment ready to age in place? I'm glad you asked! Get a copy of the Retirement Independence Home Design Road Map, which will take you step-by-step through your home to determine what features work and what needs improvement to live your best retirement life.

About the Author

As a home health Physical Therapist for over 20 years, I help clients solve home dilemmas so they can live their best life.

I'm here to use that same problem-solving expertise and training as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist to help you create an optimized home that's forward-thinking and future-ready to support you and your loved ones well for a lifetime.

Ready to discover your Golden Girl strategy for a retirement-ready home?