Ageing in Place and it’s 5 Most Important Benefits
Nowadays, people are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. This is not only due to constant advancements in the medical field, but also because of the general population adopting a more ‘health-conscious’ style of living. People are more vigilant than ever in choosing what they eat, how they exercise, and how they choose to live their lives. With this in mind, today we would like to discuss the concept of ‘ageing in place’, and how it is one of the most important health-choices that you or your loved ones may ever make.
What is ‘Ageing in Place’?
The term ‘ageing in place’ refers to when an older adult makes the choice to live out their golden years from the ease of their own home and surrounded by the comforts of their own choosing. Whilst living at home this person can still benefit from services or facilities that may assist their day-to-day activities. In essence, ageing in place is the choice to reject the idea of sheltered housing or nursing homes in favour of comfort and independence. This is achieved by adapting their home to be more functional and taking action to reduce risks in and around the household.
Why do people choose to age in place?
The concept of ageing in place, as opposed to the elderly living in sheltered accommodation, may seem like a new idea - however it’s not. Throughout much of the Middle East and Asia, nursing homes for the elderly are almost considered a taboo. Many of these cultures choose to look after their elderly as they had done for them as children – either by providing them with regular care or by living with them. As the Western world is increasingly embracing this trend, we are starting to observe the benefits this choice can bring – both physically and mentally. Here are our top 5 most important benefits of ageing in place.
It goes without saying- there’s no place like home. Stepping into a friend or family member’s home is always a unique experience; we fill and decorate our homes as we see fit and with things we personally enjoy – the modern home is a quintessential presentation of who we are when we are at ease. Although there are many pleasant nursing homes throughout the world, none will feel as homely as the home you have made for yourself. On top of this, your home is entirely your own to decide who you share it with. There is no guarantee of privacy in a nursing home and many activities are designed to be done in groups to make supervision easier.
Along with comfort also comes familiarity. It is not at all uncommon for older to occasionally become confused or to suffer from poor memory recall. Ageing in place in a home that they’re familiar with not only guarantees that the facilities they need will be there, but also that they will be familiar with where they are and how to access them.
2. Staying Active
Ageing in place has the benefit of keeping us generally more active than a nursing home would. Older adults living in their own homes will often be able to conduct many of their daily activities by themselves; keeping them active and keeping them in their routine. For some, this may only be achievable after functional house modifications are made, or with the extra security of a device such as a pendant alarm. Whereas sheltered accommodation may often have curfews and confinement, ageing in place allows people the freedom to remain as active as they can. Remaining active is one of the best ways to combat the negative effects of aging, and has been shown to reduce the risks of trips and falls, as well as combating the onset of frailty. On top of this, ageing in place also allows the retired to moderate their social connections at their own discretion.
3. Staying Aware
Social interaction is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy daily routine, yet its importance is often overlooked. Maintaining healthy social connections is one of the easiest ways to combat the onset of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety – issues that isolated adults often face. Whilst sheltered housing may bring older adults together in the same environment, there is no guarantee of the quality of the social connections that they can make. Ageing in place allows the elderly not only to pick and choose when and with whom they socialise, but also it allows them to maintain their current social network.
Ageing in place has also shown to be beneficial in memory retention. Bryan James from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Centre has spent extensive time researching how social connection can combat mental decline. In a 2011 study, James found that when comparing seniors with good and poor social connections, those with good social connections saw 70% less mental decline than those without over a twelve-year period.
4. It’s more affordable
Although each of us may have different requirements as we age and may endure different difficulties, it is safe to say that ageing at home is generally much less costly than nursing home care. It’s not to say that ageing at home doesn’t come with costs – house modifications (such as ramps, hand rails, stair lifts) personal alarm systems, and drop-in carers all have a price attached to them. Most of these costs however, are either one-off purchases, or are mitigated by the fact that you are living at home where your comforts and amenities already exist. Nursing homes however, are renowned for the hefty cost associated with residency.
In 2018, healthcare specialists Laing and Buisson published a report stating that the basic cost of nursing home care was between £27,000 to £39,000 per year – and those with complex care needs would be looking to pay £39,000 - £55,000 per year. It goes without saying that this is an inordinate figure and without significant financial backing, families and individuals can find it hard to pay this each year. In addition to these stark price differences, seniors will often have friends and family in the local community who may be able to offer to help.
5. The support systems in place are constantly improving
One of the best things about ageing in place is that there is a wide choice of services and support that are available to suit any individual’s needs. Often some of the most valuable help an individual can have whilst ageing in place is that from their family and friends. It’s the small efforts, like offering to carry heavy shopping, or helping to set-up their broadband, which mean the most. In terms of helping with daily living, there are multiple community outreach services and government schemes that set out to help with things like meal delivery and basic care. If you think a dwelling may need to be modified for ease of living, the government has run the Disabled Facility Grant for over twenty-five years, helping to finance house modifications for the lesser abled. More information on this can be found at www.gov.uk/disabled-facilities-grants.
Finally, if you’re worried about the personal safety of ageing in place, we offer a range of different personal alarm systems that will get you help in the event of an accident or fall. With the single push of a discreet button, you’ll be connected to our 24/7 emergency response centre who will get you the help you need.
We are committed to providing quality care to the elderly and our website is regularly updated with articles to help keep families and individuals informed on the different options available to them during their golden years. If you are interested in ageing in place and want to know more about personal alarms and the peace of mind that they can offer, contact us today. Installing a personal alarm may very well be the most important step in safely and securing having a loved one age in place. We have alarm systems that suit all needs and are on hand to give our advice and expertise.
By Alex Brent