The Defy Aging Newsletter

Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness

a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.

Number 144

This issue:

There's no place like home


When you imagine living well into your hundreds, imagine living at home or in a home like setting..


Only a third of Americans say they want to live to a hundred. Why? They imagine living to a hundred means being disabled and living in a nursing home with its depersonalization, lack of privacy, and institutional food. Nursing homes often are a necessary evil for step down nursing care after hospitalization, but they are a terrible place to call home.

The marketplace caught on and now offers a cornucopia of home-based services including housekeeping, nursing care, and physical therapy. There are often tax breaks, utility subsidies, and meals of wheels programs to help low income seniors stay at home. Independent living facilities and assisted living facilities are popping up everywhere. Some are homelike. Some are very luxurious and like a resort. (Some are unfortunately look institutional and have a medical feel with nursing stations and medical carts.) Americans whose finances give them a choice are increasingly choosing to live at home or in homelike communities. Baby Boomers in particular are likely to insist on a homelike or resort-like atmosphere.

Now federal and state governments are doing the math and finding that housing seniors in nursing homes often wastes money. In Pennsylvania, for example, nursing homes bill Medicaid $144 a day per resident. Home based care only costs $56 a day. Certainly a sizeable number of nursing home residents are bedridden or in fragile health and are better served in a nursing home. Many, however, are in nursing homes because they have health problems, only have Social Security income, and can’t afford to live on their own. They need some assistance but don’t need the intensity of a nursing home.

Often indigent and low income seniors with health problems have to choose between trying to make it in the community vs. giving up their privacy and independence to share a tiny room in a nursing home. It is probably just a matter of time before the government catches on that the middle ground of assisted living is more humane, more dignified, and more cost effective. Perhaps the fear is that people who would otherwise live at home will flock to more comfortable assisted living facilities. I doubt it. In most assisted living facilities most residents pine for living at home.

To conclude, more and more seniors are living at home or in homelike facilities. While you may spend a few weeks in a nursing home for a knee replacement, you are not likely to have to live out your later years in a nursing home.


Oh, Auntie Em – there’s no place like home!

~Dorothy’s last line in the Wizard of Oz


Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.

~Bill Cosby

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