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Most older Americans plan on living in their current homes. Is it wise?

Posted on: Dec 20, 2016

As you age and move into the golden years, having a comfortable and safe home where you can be active, social, healthy, and enjoy life becomes higher on the list of what’s important. Kelly Tierney, our senior living advisor, has important advice about choosing a senior living community.

In a blog post published October 2015, Jamison Gosselin says, “It should not surprise you that 75 percent of older adults plan to live in their current homes for the rest of their lives, according to the 2015 United States of Aging Survey.” He asks, “Is that the smartest move for everyone?”

Further, he notes that, in fact, tens of thousands of seniors are actually making another choice. According to the 2015 U.S. Bureau of the Census, slightly more than 5 percent of the 65+ population occupy skill nursing centers, congregate care, assisted living, and independent senior living.

Like Gosselin, as a senior care advisor I can’t count the number of times residents have said to me, “I wish I would have moved into my community years ago!” Most simply didn’t realize how much they would have saved by moving into a senior living community.

Gosselin suggests we think about these four simple things when determining where to spend our retirement years. “After all,” he says, “They’re supposed to be the most relaxing and fun years of your life, right?”

1. Save on home expenses.

Gone are the years of having a mortgage-free retirement. More than 70 percent of homeowners ages 50 to 64 were still paying their mortgages in 2010, according to U.S. News & World Report. That means less of the money you saved over the years is going toward golf and more of it is spent paying off your home. Don’t forget to add in property taxes, utilities, homeowners insurance, and the day-to-day expenses of owning a home. That list does not include the cost of renovations your home may require as you age, including reducing stairs, widening doorways, and eliminating fall hazards.

When seniors move into senior living communities these expenses are virtually wiped away. Yes, you will pay for living arrangements, but every other maintenance expense, like lawn care, home maintenance, adding safety-rails to bathrooms, and more is taken care of by the retirement community.

2. Save your nutritional wellbeing.

As we age, our nutrition can suffer. Eating well is important for any age group, but health issues can sometimes make it difficult for seniors to maintain a balanced diet. Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15 to 50 percent of the aging population. This is especially true after a senior’s spouse has passed away.

When seniors do not maintain adequate nutrition, it can affect their overall health and have long lasting effects. Retirement communities offer nutritional meals based on a senior’s lifestyle. Each meal is carefully planned to meet the unique nutritional needs of the senior population, helping to ensure that residents live longer and healthier lives.

Loved ones are happy when they see mom or dad eating well and enjoying their meals!

3. Save on housekeeping.

Most seniors do not plan on spending their retirement doing extra work. You have spent years vacuuming, dusting, and doing laundry. Isn’t it about time you put the housework into someone else’s hands? While it may not seem like it now, daily chores can grow to be hard work. In fact, seniors who participated in heavy housework were more at risk for fall related injuries.

A retirement community can offer the all-inclusive independent lifestyle you are looking for in retirement. Weekly housekeeping and linen services are offered so you can spend more time socializing, enjoying hobbies, traveling, and more.

4. Save your social life.

As seniors age, their ability to engage with others in their community may begin to fade. Although most aging adults desire active social lives, many may find themselves with limited mobility and other medical issues, preventing them from taking part in the hobbies and events they previously enjoyed.

Studies have confirmed that the mood and the outlook on life of older adults have a direct relationship to their physical health. A study published in Current Directions in Psychological Science found a positive attitude could reduce stress, diminish pain, and help to prevent illness in mature adults. 

Living in a retirement community provides endless opportunities to develop close social connections and friendships. This becomes increasingly important as we get older and face a variety of life events that could trigger loneliness and isolation. At senior living communities you can make friends, share a meal, and enjoy special occasions together.

By Kelley Tierney, Senior Living Advisor, Lewis Memorial Christian Village


Gosselin, Jamison. “Four Unexpected Ways You’ll Save by Moving into a Senior Living Community.” 

Web blog post. The Huffington Post, 08 Oct. 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

Kelley Tierney is the Senior Living Advisor at Lewis Memorial Christian Village in Springfield. Lewis Memorial is one of thirteen campuses of Christian Horizons, which span across four Midwestern states.

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