Would You Prefer to Retire at Home or in a Community
“To leave or not to leave,” is a question a lot of seniors face as they grow older.
I live along and I thought too big for me. So three years ago I looked around for a retirement home to spend the rest of my days.
I found two, a few kilometers away from my home.
They looked ideal. They are near to each other, so it was not too difficult to make an assessment.
Both are in a quiet and secluded place, away from traffic and the prying eyes of the outside world. And they were not too far a drive from my children.
I thought I have found an ideal place to spend the rest of my days in peace and tranquility; the place to serenely leave behind all that was.
Not for long, though…
Both are fenced-off by fortress-high concrete walls, with nothing but a small door with a peephole connecting them to the outside world.
My first reaction was, “Oh, God, are these prisons?”
Then I decided to stay home for the rest of my life.
I am sure there are still a lot of retirement homes out there that look friendly and welcoming. But, walls or no walls, they still project a confining appearance.
And at my age, after having to “toe the line” in order to survive in the corporate jungle, I want to be free. I want to live my life the way I want to live it. If I have to follow some rules, they are my rules, not somebody else’s.
Other than “freedom,” here are some reasons why I decided to stay home:
I can move around in my home blind-folded – that’s how familiar I am with my surroundings.
My sister’s family is just a walk or a phone call away and I know the people all around me My daughter is 15 mins by car and the tennis court, a little farther.
It removes the hassle of familiarizing myself with a new surrounding, new people, new ways of doing things.
For me, happiness is feeling safe and secure that no matter what happens, somebody is going to come around to check on me.
2. Availability of resources:
With the advancement in communications technology, one is never far away from health care services. And there are electronic health monitors that will immediately send care specialists in case of emergencies.
On top of these, there are now several homecare providers that take care of your health needs in your own home.
3. Minimizes the risk of abuse:
Elder abuse can happen either at home or in a retirement facility. At home, however, you can shut out family members and friends who are not treating you right, while you cannot escape from retirement home personnel who are abusive to the people like you.
You can file complaints against specific people in case of abuse, but a retirement home often sweeps it under the rug for fear of bad publicity.
Not only do you have a fighting chance against abuse at home, but none in a retirement facility.
4. It is Cheaper:
This is the strongest argument why I decided to stay home rather than a retirement facility.
My home is mortgage-free, so my expenses are mostly for my basic needs and utilities, like power, water, and telephone services.
Upkeep is very minimal. Should there be repairs, my daughter takes care of it.
On the other hand, in 2012, a private room cost $248.00/day, and a semi-private, $222.00 – far too high especially for seniors living off a meager pension or on social security.
But all these are my personal perceptions. You may have yours. But bear in mind that 90% of seniors prefer to retire at home for sentimental reasons.
They find it unbearable to leave the place where they spent the best parts of their lives, where their children grew up, got married and started lives of their own, or where their closest friends and relatives dwell.
It is like letting go of something special, something irreplaceable.
Please share with other seniors to help them make a better decision.