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  • Forbes

The Safety Of Older Adults Aging In Place

An increasing number of older U.S. adults are choosing to age in place and grow older in their homes within a traditional community. Aging in place may offer a number of benefits, such as the ability to maintain one’s independence while being surrounded by familiar objects, family and friends. However, choosing to age in place requires certain considerations and planning, and may pose potential challenges, risks and safety concerns for older adults and their loved ones.

A recent Forbes Health survey conducted by OnePoll of 1,000 U.S. adults age 65 and older who are electing to age in place examines their main concerns about growing older at home, as well as the concerns of their family members and friends. The survey also explores home modification options to improve safety for people aging in place, whether individuals are aging in place on their own or with assistance and attitudes toward alternative housing options like assisted living communities or nursing homes.

Some key survey findings include:

  • Over 50% of survey respondents are aging in place on their own (as opposed to living with family members in their own homes), and this percentage increases with age. Just below half of respondents ages 65 to 69 (47%) report living alone, while 55% of people ages 70 to 74, and 56% of people at least 75 years old say the same.

  • Most older adults choose to age in place because they feel happier in their own homes (84%).

  • Other reasons for aging at home include feeling safer (60%), wanting to remain close to family and friends (49%), the affordability of aging at home (45%) and not wanting to pack and relocate their household belongings (36%).

How Do Older Adults Feel About Aging in Place?

Individuals choose to age in place for various reasons, and the majority of respondents (86%) listed independence as their top reason. Meanwhile, 84% of respondents say they feel happier aging in their own homes as opposed to alternative living arrangements, such as assisted living communities. Additional reasons older adults say they prefer aging in place include:

  • Feeling safer living at home compared to other places (60%)

  • The desire to remain close to friends and family members (49%)

  • The relative affordability of aging in place (45%)

  • Not wanting to pack and move their belongings (36%)

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