Close X

Is Aging in Place a Good Idea? The Pros and Cons

Posted by Daniel J. Eccher, Esq. | May 10, 2024

The closing of more senior care facilities in Maine spotlights concerns about long-term care options. For some healthy older adults, aging in place gives hope. But it might not be the right path for everyone.

The advantages of aging in place include living in a house filled with memories, where neighboring smiles greet you. You may also revel in being near the laughter of loved ones and in the rhythm of your routine. And you avoid the stress of moving to a new home.

The Challenges of Aging in Place

Older renters and homeowners can experience different difficulties while they try to age in place.

Rising rent costs affect seniors on fixed incomes. The housing units they occupy might lack acceptable modifications for aging safely in place. And long waiting lists for new quarters can cause stress. 

According to the AARP, fewer than one percent of American homes have features to let residents age safely. In a 2021 AARP survey, about a third of homeowners said they had to make upgrades like changing a bathroom or installing a ramp.

Before remodeling, an assessment can check for needed upgrades. The AARP suggests key places to explore are entrances to homes, bathrooms, and kitchens. The Design for Aging Committee advises that hardware changes like grab bars on doors, windows, cabinets, and walls affect residents' quality of life.

Remodeling costs are a major factor. For a bathroom, they may run to tens of thousands of dollars. Though healthcare expenses are often a concern for retirees, a T. Rowe Price analysis reveals that most of their dollars fund housing. 

But planning before aging in place may make it more feasible. Low-income seniors can qualify for home modification grants. Also, buying a house with accessibility in mind or investing in a home warranty plan could relieve repair costs. An investment portfolio that factors in home repair costs may provide financial security later. 

Overcoming Isolation and Barriers to Support

Living alone can affect a person's mental and emotional well-being, especially if they lack social connections or outside support. In rural areas, transportation might also be unavailable or unreliable.

In Maine, initiatives like Aging in Place committees aid seniors. Family caregivers or service providers may offer in-home care. And voice-first and other technology foster health and connections. Local area agencies on aging provide in-home emergency response and medication reminder systems to help elders live safely at home.

Assistance for Aging in Place

Government funds are available to support home upgrades for seniors and the disabled. 

In Central Maine, through MaineHousing, KVCAP's Community Aging in Place Program helps low-income homeowners age 55 and older. It offers no-cost home safety checks, minor maintenance repairs, and accessibility modifications. 

Local area agencies on aging offer referrals to other assistance programs.

AARP-sponsored age-friendly “lifelong” communities throughout Maine and the U.S. provide home repair programs. Community volunteers install grab bars, virtual assistants, detectors and light bulbs, move furniture, or make home repairs. They also connect people with potential subsidies.

Exploring Your Options for Aging in Place in Maine

We all have different needs and preferences. Successful aging in place considers everything from your health to finances and social support. 

Assess your future health needs, including potential accessibility and mobility issues. Evaluate your financial resources, especially for home maintenance and healthcare costs. If necessary, survey assistance programs. Connect with local communities and support networks. Consider other housing options like continuing care retirement communities, age-restricted communities, or a smaller home. Seek guidance from local aid groups and professionals like elder law attorneys and financial advisors.

For help planning for aging in place and other aspects of long-term care, contact us online or call (207) 377-6966.

About the Author

Daniel J. Eccher, Esq.

Daniel J. Eccher, Esq. is the Managing Shareholder at Levey, Wagley, Putman & Eccher, P.A., in Winthrop, Maine. Dan's favorite problem to solve is helping clients figure out how to afford long-term care while having something left for their family.

Pay Your Invoice

Please call our office during business hours if you would like to provide a credit card number over the phone.

Areas We Serve

Our office is in Winthrop, Maine, located approximately 10 miles from Augusta, and 17 miles from Lewiston. We are also available by appointment to meet in the Brunswick/Topsham area and the Waterville area.