Adult children of aging parents have many factors to consider when contemplating whether their parents are better off aging in their home or moving to a senior community. Cost, safety and home upkeep are all part of the equation, but have you ever considered the social impact? Research suggests you should.
It is common for older adults to have a desire to remain in their home as they age. Familiarity with their surroundings and nostalgia about the home tend to enhance their reluctance to make a change. One downside to living at home, particularly for those who are alone, is that they can spend a great deal of time without social interaction. Many studies exist that highlight the impact of social interaction on older adults.
Consider the changes in social roles an adult goes through as they age. Because of retirement, older adults lose the interactions they have through work. Most older adults lose more social connections than they gain after a certain age, because of deaths, loss of mobility, fewer social engagements and the like.
Results have shown that an increase in regular social interactions can have remarkably positive results in areas such as providing a sense of purpose, improving health behaviors and involvement in health services, mostly due to improved access and awareness. Having a social network also alleviates the stress caused by traumatic life events, such as a death, as one is able to work through their grief with others who can sympathize and identify with their situation.
Participating in social activities can contribute to higher cognitive functioning. Studies have shown that older adults with fewer social ties experience acceleration in their cognitive decline, while those who remain socially active enjoyed more stability in their cognitive functioning and a slower decline. This makes sense, as conversations with others keep the mind engaged and makes a person more aware of worldly issues.
If your aging parent is mobile and independent, they can maintain these social interactions through volunteer activities, neighborhood groups or religious institutions, for example. But if leaving home is problematic for them, bringing those activities to their door may be a better solution. That is what a senior community can do. Group activities, planned events, organized meals and social outings are just a few of the opportunities that are available to them on a regular basis.
If you are an adult child of an aging parent making decisions about moving, discuss the social advantages senior communities can offer as you consider your options. And if moving involves selling a home, contact FasterHouse by giving us a call at 314-926-0660 or fill out this form for an offer to purchase your home as-is and on your preferred time schedule.