The top 3 reasons staying put will help you live better.
Updated: Apr 21, 2020
The saying goes “home is where the heart is.” There is actually some truth to that. Place attachment is defined as the emotional attachment a person has with a specific environment. For most people, their home is the place where they have the strongest emotional connection. In a study by Age Wave, 54% of people 55+ stated, “I love my home” as the primary reason for staying in place. In an AARP survey, 90% of those age 65 and older would prefer to remain in their homes as they age. While everyone’s situation is different, there are many reasons to consider continuing living in your home as you age.
1) Personal Freedom – In your home, you decide what you want to do with your time, who you share your space with, and how you take care of your possessions. Choice is empowering. According to a study by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Growing Older program, freedom of choice was among the 10 most important factors that older adults listed as the most important for their quality of life. Freedom to make your own decisions gives you the chance to ensure that every day counts.
2) Safety – With some modifications, your home can be the safest place for you as you age. Falls are one of the most common ways that seniors injure themselves. However, there are many steps that can be taken to reduce fall risk. Some of the simplest are removing accent rugs and installing nonslip flooring. Going through the process of learning where fall risks and barriers are in a new space can create opportunity for injury.
3) Stress reduction – Moving is a major source of stress for people of all ages. Purging possessions, many which may have sentimental value, can compound emotional distress. Seniors are put in the position where they must determine which pieces that represent their past they will keep and which they will part with. The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory ranks moving as number 32 out of 43 of life’s most stressful events. There’s actually a term for it: relocation stress syndrome. It’s characterized by older adults experiencing anxiety, confusion, hopelessness, and loneliness after moving from their private residence. Stress effects seniors differently than other age groups. Keeping stress under control effects their ability to function at their peak on a day-to-day basis. According to Dr. Michelle Dossett, an internal and integrative medicine specialist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, “Stress hormones in the brain can contribute to short-term memory problems that are unrelated to dementia or age-related memory loss.”
For many, remaining at home and making modifications so it meets their needs for the long term is a great option. Investing in your home is really an investment in yourself. Choosing to continue living there can have a positive impact physically and emotionally and enable you to live the life you want for years to come.