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Aging with Dignity: How to Age in Place Instead of a Nursing Home

Aging is expensive. Due to a lack of public and political support for in-home resources, the financial burden of aging adults often falls on loved ones and families. This results in caregivers leaving careers in order to care for older relatives— or having to pay exorbitant healthcare costs for in-home care.

And in-home care isn’t the only expensive option. Elderly adults and their families also have to pay high fees and costs for quality nursing homes. Often, adults mistakenly assume Medicare will pay for long-term care facilities. 

Nearly 80% of Americans prefer to age at home instead of in a nursing home. Even though, one-third of older adults don’t have the resources or plan for long-term care when it is needed. According to a recent poll from AP-NORC, 72% of aging Americans agree with state-sponsored long-term care. Yet, many states don’t offer such programs. 

Although aging adults want to stay at home, without the proper care network and support, it is nearly impossible to do so. This often leaves a large financial burden on families. If we’re lucky enough to age, then preparing for our long-term care is one way we can ensure aging with dignity in our homes, without putting the financial burden on loved ones. 

Here are some ways in which you can prepare for long-term care at home. 

Decide If Your Home Is Feasible For Aging

Every home is different and unique to the families who live in it. When you choose to age at home, then you’ll have to prepare your home to be accessible for an elderly individual. If you already own a one-story home and have easy access to your bedroom, shower, and kitchen, then you won’t have to do too much to prepare. 

However, if you live in a two-story or split-level home, then you’ll need to prepare your house to be accessible. Or you may decide to move entirely to a one-story accessible home. Accessibility can look different for everyone, but generally having your sleeping, dining, and bathing all accessible on the same floor is a good start. 

Live Near Loved Ones 

If you’ve got family spread out, then it’ll be harder to age in place. While not impossible, having family close by can be beneficial for long-term care. Your children or other relatives can be good ambassadors for your healthcare as you age. They know you well — better than a healthcare professional. This allows them to advocate for you and your desires as you age. 

Talk to a Financial Advisor 

The simple fact is that aging at home can be costly. To truly release yourself and your loved ones from potential financial setbacks, talk to a financial advisor about your options for saving and investing in your long-term care. 

If you’re not ready to think about aging or the end of life, that’s okay. But planning for and investing for your future doesn’t have to be a morbid gloom-and-doom conversation. Instead, it can be rewarding and comforting knowing that as you age, you’ll have more time to spend on the things you love and worry less about the financial stresses of healthcare costs.