Home Alone, and Happy
Three years ago I thought of moving to a retirement community.
I live alone in my home which, I think, is too big for me. So I scouted around for a community near my home that can give me a simple, quite, and joyful retirement life.
I found two – near enough to my children so I won’t feel isolated from them. Unluckily (or luckily) for me, they did not satisfy my needs.
Both were fenced off from the rest of the world and, except for a small door with a peephole, they seemed so monolithic. My first impulse was, “Oh God, I want to live in a community, not a prison.”
So if you are planning to do the same, read this first before you do.
Why Stay Put at Home:
Since then, I decided to stay put until the rest of my days. You should, too, for the following reasons:
Familiarity with your surroundings has a great effect on your happiness and wellness. You know your home as the wrinkles on your hands. You know the community, the people, and the amenities, down to the name of the clerk in your favorite convenience store.
It removes the hassle of moving into new and unfamiliar surroundings, of being with people you never knew before, of adjusting to the quirks and hang-ups of the guy next door.
Adjusting to a new environment such as a retirement home is difficult and stressful for anybody. It could be near impossible for you.
Staying home near people you know, like family and friends minimizes, it not removes the uncertainty of immediate help in case of emergencies
To have people, neighbors and family members, around that you can call easily in case you need help removes anxiety and boosts your peace of mind.
3. Availability of resources:
Even if you stay home for retirement, you can still be assured of adequate health care services because these days there are so many providers you can get in touch with.
Other than these home care service providers, there is a multitude of user-friendly hi-tech devices that help you manage your health care needs.
All these means that immediate help is never far away in case you need it
According to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), 90% of seniors want to retire at home, mostly for sentimental reasons. They feel that if they have survived all these years at home, they will survive the rest of their days.
Another reason is independence.
Seniors feel that independence is all they have control over in the face of the changes in other
aspects of their lives. It also gives them a sense of achievement, which is necessary for promoting purpose, self-worth, and well-being.
When my children moved out of my home right after marriage, I felt the world tumbling around me. I thought I could never get over the thought of us living separately. But after my period of self-denial, I found out that it was not such a bad thing.
In fact, I am glad they did. It allowed me free use of my time and activities which would have been impossible had they stayed on. A daily riot would certainly be happening now had they and their spouses lived with me.
5. Minimize risk of abuse:
Old people, because of their condition, are often subject to elderly abuse. In fact, the problem is escalating despite the availability of services to prevent its occurrence.
Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and above have experienced some form of elderly abuse.
What is worrisome about it is that in 60% of the cases, the culprits are close family members.
Retirement and nursing homes are not any safer for old people as well. The number of elderly abuse in retirement and nursing homes is unavailable because most of these are swept under the rug and never reported.
This is minimized, if not avoided if you stay alone at home provided ample services are available in case you need them.
6. It is Cheaper:
If your home is mortgage-free, stay put because it is cheaper in the long run. Retirement homes can be expensive depending on the state, services, and amenities provided.
In 2012, a private room average cost was $248.00/day; a semi-private was a little less at $222.00/day.
This could be exorbitantly high even if your retirement income is substantial. It will definitely leave a huge hole in your budget.
The Bottom Line?
It is your call. But before you make a decision, weigh things carefully because staying put or moving to a retirement home are not exactly two peas in the same pod. In fact, they are poles apart.
Do your research. Surf the Internet, talk to friends or have a sales person give you a call. Get as much information as you can. The more the better. You don’t want to be caught with your pants down due to your own lapses or negligence.
Focus your attention on total costs, health care services, nutrition plan, activities to promote togetherness and camaraderie, safety, proximity to shopping centers and malls, family visitation privileges, etc.
Make sure you get all the pertinent information and understand them all to avoid future regrets.
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