So many of us will face this dilemma in our later years as we find ourselves increasingly reliant on the assistance of others in our day-to-day lives. The choice we make can be determined by a range of factors.
The precise state of one’s health, together with one’s lifestyle, temperament, financial resources, and such matters as personal safety, are all factors that can come into play when contemplating such an important decision. For example, if one is very much a ‘people person’ who thrives on social interaction and involvement, and who, at the same time, appreciates or requires a structured environment complete with full nursing/caregiving and dining/laundry/housekeeping services, then a community living setting housing others may be the appropriate choice.
If, on the other hand, one is of an ‘independent-minded’ nature, who values the relative seclusion and privacy afforded by one’s own home, as opposed to a retirement facility setting, then ‘staying put’ may be the better option – especially if any required health care support can be adequately provided by relatives, friends, or hired caregivers, whether part-time or live-in, as the situation may dictate.
The latter course, which has gained favour in recent years, has additional advantages. It is typically – often substantially – less expensive than retirement or nursing home residency, and, secondly, the discomforting stress and upheaval that comes with a move to a new abode is avoided. On the other hand, the level of health/medical care services typically available in a formal retirement facility, can, of course, be expected to be higher.
On the matter of personal safety, that is probably always going to be higher in a structured community living milieu, with its typical, substantial health care support resources. But safety in one’s own home can certainly be enhanced with the surfeit of support services and care packages that are available to stay-at-homes nowadays, ranging from simple delivery and housekeeping services, to hired personal caregivers/companions, who may be skilled in a variety of tasks.
In sum, the decision as to whether to remain in one’s home or move to a retirement facility will typically be based on criteria such as the foregoing. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages; one will be more suited to some, while the second may be more appropriate for others, depending on particular requirements and circumstances. Ultimately, the choice will be, and should be, yours.