As we get older we may realise that the place we call home is no longer fit for our needs. There are many factors to consider when choosing between staying in your familiar home or moving to a new environment, be it a house more suited to your needs or a care facility.
It is estimated that by the year 2050, the number of adults aged 60 and over will nearly double, increasing pressure on social and housing services as people decide whether to stay at home or relocate.
Most aging adults prefer to stay put as they enjoy the familiarity and memories attached to their homes. Feeling safe and in control of where you live is important, especially to those who may already be experiencing a loss of independence.
You may debate relocation versus home modifications; should I move to a Bungalow or install a stair-lift? But choices like these aren’t black and white – you might not only be experiencing problems with using stairs, but have more complex physical needs. Living alone may also no longer be an option for people experiencing lapses in memory. Even for those who do stay, half of adults in their own homes aged 85 or older rely on caregivers or home care services to help them with everyday tasks.
Economic factors also play a part in considerations; the need to mortgage your home may tempt you to leave, but moving house can be equally expensive and stressful. Older adults who do choose to move are increasingly relocating to rural areas rather than built up towns. People don’t want to move out of their family homes into an expensive boxy urban flat when they could move to a more spacious house in the countryside.
Proximity to facilities should also be considered. A doctors’ surgery, shops, and a chemist’s are also good facilities to have nearby, and via an easily accessible route. For those who no longer drive, an easy walking route is important, and for those who do drive, traffic and access to a car need to be factored in.
It’s also good to be near friends. Our social circles tend to become smaller as we reach old age, and we may lose our long term partners. We may choose to move closer to loved ones, or into a facility where we will have company. On the other hand, our families may choose to move closer to us.
Whatever you may choose to do when the time comes, the most important factors to consider are your comfort and security. As the aging population in Europe continues to grow, perhaps more focus will be put on social and housing services for older adults.