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What Do Seniors Say About Aging in Place?

McNair Dallas Law

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For all the pain and disruption caused by COVID-19, at least one benefit appears to have come out of the pandemic for seniors: Their confidence about aging in place has soared!

A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that the challenges posed to seniors – many of whom were left sequestered alone in their homes during the height of the pandemic – actually increased the amount of trust they were able to place in themselves and their abilities to live alone.

Seasons’s recent article entitled “Pandemic has made seniors more confident about aging in place, study reports” reported on this survey.

In fact, the survey was a part of a larger study, which asked 214 respondents to rate their general self-confidence as well as their confidence in a variety of scenarios—from managing their health to social interactions. This might be confidence in their ability to arrange rides and appointments or seeking support when they need help understanding something.

The researchers from Northwestern University found significant differences between the 66 seniors who responded to the survey before the pandemic and the 148 who answered after.

In fact, pandemic-era respondents not only had higher confidence in general but reported significantly higher confidence in their abilities to manage social interactions.

“Self-doubt is a part of human nature,” the study’s authors wrote. “COVID-19 restrictions forced older adults to experience the loss of in-person human interactions and overcome their self-doubt in managing social interactions. Older adults adapted to the challenges of isolated aging in place and came ahead with higher self-efficacy.”

The news is positive, considering that 77% of older adults want to age in place, according to the AARP. A jump in confidence will be a big help for caregivers who don’t want to see their loved ones institutionalized. Moreover, it opens the door for the necessary planning that will be needed to keep a senior home long-term. This includes installing grab bars and ramps or reconfiguring a two-story house.

Aging in place can be good for both seniors and their caregivers, especially when supports and services are in place to help them maintain their independence and determine their day-to-day life.

Moving individuals at the end of their life can have many detrimental effects, including anxiety, depression and loneliness.  It can be challenging to learn new routines and form new friendships.

One positive change in many communities during the Pandemic was an increase in services like tele-health monitoring and medical appointments, more online classes and programs, and greater familiarity with ride sharing and grocery delivery – all of which can help seniors successfully age in place.

Reference: Seasons (Aug. 9, 2022) “Pandemic has made seniors more confident about aging in place, study reports”

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