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Decision To Remain Self Sufficient

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Question your decision to remain self sufficientIndependent seniors, especially those 65+, who are able to age in place can reduce the stress related to major lifestyle changes by making small changes to remain self sufficient.  More and more seniors are able to remain self sufficient due to improvements and availability of home based assistive products and services.  According to the Administration on Aging, By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million seniors 65+, more than twice their number in 2000. Seniors 65+ represented 12.4% of the population in the year 2000 but are expected to grow to be 19% of the population by 2030.  When asked, the majority of seniors today say they wish to age in place at home to stay self sufficient and remain independent.  Some other reasons for this are the stress related to relocation and the feeling of safety and security already established at their current home.   Relocation stress for seniors 65+ can lead to:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Cognitive decline / confusion
  • Perceived loss of control
  • Withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Failure-to-thrive
  • Death

Independent seniors can realize other health related benefits with a decision to age in place and remain self sufficient.  Studies on independent living have shown that brain function is actually preserved by performing activities of daily living such as:

Further, the decision stay independent and live at home provides the opportunity to maintain existing friendships and social independent senior 65+ decision to remain self sufficientgroups and stay close with family and neighbors. This is important because longevity studies have shown the more involved your stay with friends, family, neighbors and other social groups, the longer you live and remain self sufficient.  The decision to stay in your home and community can provide the kind of daily activities and cost savings not available by moving into independent living facilities or assisted living facilities. The primary focus for ensuring independent seniors have a successful age in place environment is creating a balance between your increasing needs with the right combination of housing modification options, care giving, assistance products, and behavioral changes.  Strategies are unique for each person. The best outcome of your decision to remain independent is to maintain the perfect balance between physical, emotional and mental demand that continues to stimulate but is not overwhelming.

statistics of independent senior who remain self sufficientSenior Living age in place statistics show around 80% of the older adults 65+ own a home.  And of those, more than two thirds of them no longer have a mortgage. To support retirement expenses, households for seniors 65+ reported an average income in 2011 of $48,538.  The major sources of income are typically Social Security, income from assets, private pensions, government employee pensions, and earnings.  Social Security is the majority of the income, around 90% or more which makes it difficult to remain self sufficient.  Unfortunately, future taxes are projected to fall short of social security benefit requirements creating an even great challenge for independent seniors.  As a result, projections are still that Social Security will eventually run dry.  In a nutshell, reliance on social security to supplement living expenses and remain self sufficient in the future is uncertain.  The independent senior will find a fixed income very limiting.

Cost becomes a major consideration in senior living lifestyle decision making for those 65+.  You may be able to get financial assistance through Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s Assistance or long term care insurance to remove some of the financial stress.  But whether support is available and the level of support available varies on the type of care, where you decide to live, and meeting specific qualifications.  It is also important to consider your physical condition, mental acuity, and ability to remain independent.  If you are more independent and highly self sufficient, less support related expenses will be needed.  You may be comparing all of the lifestyle options.  For assisted living facilities, the location of the facility, the services provided with the basic cost, and additional services selected, cost can vary substantially.  The state-by-state average monthly cost (per SeniorHomes.com 2012) for a single-occupancy room in independent living communities across the United States runs from $1,850 to $4,157.

Monthly services typically included in independent living facilities or communities are:

•Monthly rent of a unit within the community including utilities and basic cable

•One to three meals per day

•Weekly housekeeping, including laundering of bed linens/towels

•Incidental maintenance requirements

•Calendar of activities with transportation for shopping, medical appointments, or off-site activities/field trips

Medical emergency systems and home security features

Additional costs associated with independent living communities typically include a non refundable entrance or community fee, which ranges from $750 to $1,500 on average, adding financial stress on what is most likely a fixed income.

senior retirement home and independent livingAssisted living facilities may not require an entrance fee but some that provide progressive care or life care but may require a deposit of anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000.  Both independent senior living facilities and assisted living facility typically require a second-person fee, that can run between $500 and $1,000 per month.  Adding options becomes financially difficult.  And recent studies show large increases continue for assisted living facilities while home care costs, which are lower, are remaining relatively unchanged.  In a nutshell, if you are an independent senior who is capable of remaining self sufficient, you not only gain the benefits of remaining in your home but save a lot of money.

The 2012 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs shows that the national average rates for nursing home care, single occupancy was $248 per day, nursing home care semi-private was $222 per day, assisted living $3,550 per month, home health care aides was $21 per hour , homemakers was $20 per hour, and adult day services was $70 per day.

Total costs of home based services vary depending on your level of need rather than your having to pay for full time services that may not even be needed.  And if you stay at home, couples can stay together as they age rather than face the potential of being separated in progressive care facilities as individual levels of need diverge; creating a tremendous amount of personal stress and substantially reducing quality of life.  Aside from the few home and yard maintenance services, the large age in place products and any design/modification expenses are a one-time cost.  But sometimes circumstances and physical/mental conditions exist where more extensive care is required and you can no longer remain self sufficient.  You can find more information on local facilities and search for home care services in your area at Home Instead or Right at Home.

Affordability of a senior living decision making to age in place and remain independent is clear, the desire has be expressed, and the products and services are available to stay self sufficient.  You can find Assessment Tool for assessing your own environment, a compilation of valuable resources, and product and service recommendations within this website to make your age in place experience happy, safe and enjoyable.  Learn how you can keep your independence, quality of life, and stay self sufficient by making the adjustments you need at home.  When situations present themselves that make independent living no longer feasible, resources for other senior living options, such as assisted living, skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s care, palliative care, and respite care can be found at sites such as Senior Living  or Brookdale.

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