Are There Risks of Aging in Place in a Private Residence?
In 2019, it was projected that over 195,000 seniors lived alone in British Columbia, making up about 39% of the province’s aging population; this number has only grown in the years since.
Aging in place in a private residence is a common choice for seniors who want to remain in their current homes. However, there are risks to consider when choosing whether or not this is the right choice for yourself or someone you love, especially when an individual lives alone. There’s no one-size-fits-all option for aging, so you need to have all the information in order to make the best decision for the future.
At the British Columbia Seniors Living Association (BCSLA), our goal is to ensure quality choices for seniors by providing support and advocacy for senior living communities in British Columbia. If you or someone you love is considering aging in place in a private residence, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Home Maintenance Can Become a Challenge
Every homeowner understands the tribulations and tasks that go into taking care of their house. Appliances break or need to be replaced, updates must be made to maintain the home’s value, and outdoor areas must be mowed, shoveled, swept, washed, etc. There are also smaller chores that have to be handled, like laundry, vacuuming, dusting…the list goes on!
Not only can these tasks become taxing and time-consuming, but home maintenance can create hazards that could impact safety. For example, shoveling or clearing a walkway could lead to a slip and/or injury.
Most senior living communities in BC handle home maintenance tasks and general building upkeep. Beyond ensuring safety and a well-maintained living space, this gives residents more time to focus on their health, wellness, or passions.
Experiencing Feelings of Isolation & Loneliness
Relationships are one of the most important aspects of life. In fact, scientists have determined that regular social interactions are a basic human need, equally as important as food and water.
However, social isolation has become a serious problem for older adults, especially when it comes to aging in place in a private residence and living alone. “Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey – Healthy Aging, revealed that people living alone are particularly likely to need help with transportation, and that inadequate access to transportation or difficulty getting around may be a barrier to social participation (seniorsocialisolation.ca).”
Seniors who are considered socially isolated are more likely to develop:
- Cognitive decline
- Weaker immune systems
- Depression or other mental health issues
Senior living communities in BC understand that social interaction is essential for a higher quality of life. Community events, classes, programs, and common gathering spaces increase residents’ opportunities for connecting and engaging with others.
Higher Costs of Living Over Time
A common misconception about senior living communities is the price. Many refrain from moving because they feel the cost of aging in place in a private residence is significantly lower than that of a senior living community. However, this isn’t the case for many.
A person may assume that since they no longer have a mortgage, it doesn’t make sense to pay for “housing.” But in reality, home upkeep costs and services, entertainment, food, utilities, and potential medical care that an individual might need as they age in place can add up quickly.
And senior living communities in BC offer so much more than just a living space. For many senior living residents, dining options, community amenities, security features, and supportive services are all included in their price – making it a more predictable and manageable cost.
We understand why a person would wish to remain in their current home. While aging in place in a private residence may be the right decision for some, it’s not the right decision for everyone. Make sure to factor in safety, wellness, and financial security when considering your options.
At BCSLA, we’re proud to support senior living communities in BC by reshaping how these communities are managed and operated. If you are considering senior living, we encourage you to view our member directory and find a senior living community in British Columbia that can help you lead a safe and fulfilling retirement.