When seniors talk about wanting to stay in their homes as long as possible—or aging in place, as it’s come to be known—the feeling is understandable. Homes are not simply physical structures. They are havens, spaces where people find comfort and rest, and where you have spent years creating memories.
For some, living at home may be a more convenient option, but increased feelings of loneliness usually accompany this option. That's one reason why an independent living or 55-plus campus in West Seattle can provide you a lifestyle that is equally, if not more, rich and rewarding.
What Are the Benefits of Aging in Place?
As with any type of senior housing arrangement, there are both pros and cons to staying in your home as you age. To start with, there is something comforting about residing in the same place for years. You can continue investing in the property you’ve loved and maintained, in a neighborhood with which you’re deeply familiar. If you’re healthy, active and close to family, you might not have a compelling reason to leave your current surroundings.
If you’ve already paid off your house, it may also make financial sense to continue living on the property. You can add various features to make your home more senior-friendly, enabling you to age there safely and securely. There are also an abundance of aging-in-place resources and services available in Seattle for you or your loved one. Later down the road, if you require more support and healthcare services, you can hire an in-home caregiver, housekeeper, or other professional to work a few hours per week to fill in where and when you need. Your local senior or community center can also provide an outlet for occasionally sharing a meal or spending time with your peers.
What Are the Benefits of Retirement Communities?
The main benefits of senior living communities are the on-site facilities, amenities, and services. Some Independent living and 55-plus communities are designed to offer healthcare services and maintain a nursing staff, whereas others do not. Instead, the focus is on preventative wellness and socialization, which can delay or avert more acute physical and mental health needs.
At a retirement community in West Seattle, you can attend fitness classes, walk the expansive grounds, attend fun programs, events and activities with your peers, and cultivate your intellectual, emotional, and physical health in a myriad of ways. They also provide support and resources, such as transportation and communal facilities, that enable you to plan your own activities and programs. The relationships you develop with your neighbors and peers are one of the most valuable aspects of living within a 55-plus community.
One of the biggest fears often held about retirement communities is making the transition. Downsizing and moving your life from a home where you’ve resided for potentially decades to a new community can seem daunting. Once you have settled in, though, you can start developing new friendships and discover the various ways your new surroundings offer a higher quality of life.
Costs of Aging in Place v. 55-Plus Communities
While it may seem on the surface like 55-plus and independent living communities are more expensive than an elderly person living at home, there are several less-obvious costs to consider for a more accurate comparison.
Yes, you pay a monthly rent at a senior living facility and it is likely to be more than your current mortgage or rent. However, the monthly fee includes a wide range of amenities that living alone doesn’t afford. You have access to on-site parking, gardens and walking trails, a fitness center and pool, on-site dining facilities, and more. Basic utilities are also incorporated into your payment.
Property taxes and homeowner’s insurance are another couple of expenses you won’t have to deal with. The median property tax in King County, Washington, is $3,572 per year—for a home valued at $407,700—and the average monthly cost of homeowner’s insurance in Washington is $674.
It’s also important to look at the expenses you currently have that will disappear when you move into a senior living community. For example, even if you are in good health and living independently, you may be paying someone to help with landscaping, maintenance, laundry, or other household chores. In some cases, family members step in to assist with these tasks. At a 55-plus community, maintenance and housekeeping services are included in your monthly rent.
Additionally, the health risks and lower quality life associated with living alone are difficult to quantify, but there is a definite value to having a built-in support system and access to activities at a retirement community.
How to Choose the Right Senior Living Situation
There is no cut-and-dry answer when it comes to deciding what you want for your future or that of an elderly parent. Everyone is different and has unique physical, mental, social, and emotional needs. As you decide what course of action is right for you, consider not only your current situation but also what changes are likely to occur in the future. If you decide a senior living community is the way to go, Daystar Retirement Villages offers both independent living housing, 55-plus apartments, and assisted living housing, along with a wide range of campus amenities and community spaces you can enjoy as you settle into you new home.
“Will Aging in Place Soon Become a Thing of the Past?” MyLifeNet.com. Accessed online at https://www.mylifesite.net/blog/post/aging-place-thing-of-the-past/
“Aging in Place: Growing Older at Home.” National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health. Accessed online at https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/aging-place-growing-older-home
“Nine Reasons Aging in Place May Not Be Right for You.” SeniorLiving.com. Accessed online at https://www.seniorliving.com/article/nine-reasons-aging-place-may-not-be-right-you
“Aging in Place Versus Life Care Community: How to Compare the Costs.” Senior Care Advice. Accessed online at https://seniorcareadvice.com/aging-in-place-versus-life-care-community-how-to-compare-the-costs.htm