A common school of thought among the aging population is that moving is a last resort. Up until recently, some studies have even corroborated the notion that aging in place is an ideal among those aged 60 and older. But a new study from LeadingAge, a non-profit global organization with over 6000 members in 30 countries (known as the ‘trusted voice in aging’), reveals that in reality – this is not the case.
In a study conducted on the ‘young old’ (those aged 60-72), 40% of respondents said that they preferred to live somewhere other than their current home if they faced any physical or cognitive impairments. This is a stark contrast from earlier research which indicated that 76% of older adults prefer to stay in their own home regardless of impairment.
Other surprising findings include:
| The consideration that technology can address many concerns of aging and the use of safety monitoring devices to detect and prevent falls and injuries.
| The desire to seek out long-term services and supports (LTSS) to lessen the burden on family members (the biggest worry among respondents).
| Only 10% of respondents were worried about not being able to stay in their existing communities, and only 11% worried about having to live in a nursing home.
| The biggest care challenge associated with aging was cost; 55% of the wealthiest Baby Boomers cited affordability as a concern for managing physical and cognitive impairments.
| 70% of respondents reported fears of being isolated and alone (with the greatest concern expressed by lower income retirees and younger retirees).
| Behind location and price, technology was the 3rd most important factor in future residence selection, with 50% of those aged 65 and older prioritizing technology as the #1 factor in choosing a multifamily community.
| ‘Being safe” ranked a top consideration for older Boomers than ‘being around friends or family’.
WOW! The implications of this latest research are huge from a social, financial and historical perspective. This data not only contraindicates what has been believed for years, but redirects our attention to the solutions that technology offers for safety and communication with loved ones – two critical considerations for older adults.
The bottom line appears to be that being healthy and safety is far more important than physical proximity to loved ones or complacence in one’s current residence – so long as technology is maximized to sustain contact with friends & family. Not surprisingly, few Baby Boomers wish for their care needs to burden their children – even if it means moving.