Aging in Place

Tips and Strategies for Independent and Safe Aging

happy older couple in the living room

Aging in Place Defined

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as: “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” Most older adults would prefer to age in place and this can be a positive choice for many, but it requires proactive planning and support from family and the community at large. In this post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of aging in place, share some statistics, and offer tips for helping older adults live independently and safely in their own homes.

Pros and Cons of Aging in Place

Aging in place can provide older adults with a sense of familiarity and comfort, as well as the ability to remain in their communities and maintain social connections. It can also be more affordable than moving to a senior living community or nursing home. However, there are also some potential downsides to aging in place. For example, seniors who live alone may become isolated or experience loneliness, and they may not have access to the same level of medical care as they would in a nursing home or other residential facility.

Statistics on Aging in Place

A few relevant statistics to consider about aging in place:

  • The number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060 (AARP)
  • Nearly 90% of people over the age of 65 want to age in place (AARP)
  • 80% believe they will be able to do so (AARP)
  • only 59% of seniors actually believe their communities are doing a good job of meeting the needs of older adults (AARP)
  • A survey by the National Aging in Place Council found that 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, and 80% believe their current residence is where they will always live
  • A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University found that the vast majority of seniors want to age in place, but only 3.5% of homes have the necessary features to allow for safe and independent living
  • Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults who age in place. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, falls account for about 80% of all senior hospitalizations due to injury with one in four Americans over the age of 65 falling each year. (See “10 Startling Statistics About Falling“)

Tips for Aging in Place Successfully

If you or a loved one is interested in aging in place, there are a few proactive steps you can take to help ensure that you can do so as independently and safely as possible:

  1. Modify the home: Take a look around the home and make any necessary modifications to reduce fall risk, such as installing grab bars, improving lighting, and removing clutter. Download our free home safety checklist.
  2. Seek support: Connect with local resources that can help provide support for seniors, such as transportation services, meal delivery, and social activities. Start by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging. Find your local Area Agency on Aging.
  3. Keep active: Staying physically and mentally active can help seniors maintain their independence and improve overall health. Consider joining a local senior center or participating in exercise classes designed for older adults.
  4. Create a plan: It’s important to have a plan in place for emergencies or other unexpected events. Work with family members or a professional caregiver to develop a plan for how to handle medical emergencies or other issues that may arise.
  5. Stay connected: One of the biggest challenges of aging in place is the risk of social isolation. Stay connected with friends and family, and consider joining social clubs or other groups that cater to older adults.

Aging in place can be a positive choice for older adults who want to maintain their independence and stay in their communities. However, it requires careful planning and support from family and community members. By taking proactive steps to ensure safety and independence, older adults can age in place with confidence and peace of mind.

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Liz Craven
Author: Liz Craven

Liz Craven, co-publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide with her husband Wes, combines personal experience and heartfelt dedication in her work. Their journey in eldercare began with a personal story—caring for Wes' grandmother, Mabel, who lived with Alzheimer's. This chapter in their lives not only highlighted the complexities of eldercare but also kindled a deep-seated passion to support others facing similar challenges. Since then, Liz and Wes have navigated caregiving three more times. These experiences have added layers of depth to their insights, allowing them to offer a blend of empathetic understanding and practical advice through the Sage Aging ElderCare Guide. Liz’s commitment to making eldercare more approachable and less daunting shines through in every piece of advice she offers, aiming to ease the caregiving journey for others.