While aging in place is increasingly desired as an alternative to moving in retirement, it is best accomplished in communities that have certain features, according to a MetLife Mature Market Institute report.
The report is designed in part to help governments deal with special needs of the aging population; surveys have shown that overwhelming percentages of adults would like to live in their own homes as long as possible.
The benefits of aging in place for older adults come from the sense of attachment, familiarity, and identity with the home and neighborhood environment,” it says. “Research shows that relocating to a nursing home can reduce quality of life and increase mortality risk for older adults5 and lead to more mental distress for their family caregivers. Aging in place is also believed to be less expensive than institutional long-term care for older adults, their families, and governments.”
The best environment for aging in place includes these features:
A wide array of housing options that are accessible to those with disabilities and affordable to those with varying incomes and assets such as single family homes, apartments, senior housing, assisted living, and accessory dwelling units.
A range of mobility options, including public transportation, senior transportation, and walkable neighborhoods, and ensuring that all residents feel safe in their neighborhoods can improve the connections between the older residents and their communities.
A variety of supports and services to help them meet their needs, ranging from places that encourage social interactions to readily accessible grocery stores.