Housing & Transportation

Remaining at Home

A sense of place—a home—is essential to our health and well-being. But many families find that home is not a safe environment for elders. Home modifications, assistive technologies, and home care supports can help solve problems for many elders, but some may need to move into more specialized environments.

How many of us have heard an 80-year-old person complain that he or she doesn't want to move to that nice assisted living community nearby? "That's for OLD people," he or she may protest. The loss of independence, community, and the stigma of old age in our society makes it difficult to consider such a profound change.

Some elders make a transition when they retire and move to be closer to children and grandchildren, or to a warmer climate, or to a planned retirement community. Most elders, however, continue to live in the same house or apartment where they have lived for many years. They want to remain in a community where they have friends, familiar stores and streets, and a lifetime of memories.

To Move or Not to Move

There are a number of housing-related issues that families must consider when helping an elder decide whether he or she can remain at home. Here are some resources that can help:

  • The Family Caregiver Alliance offers a publication entitled "Home Away from Home: Relocating Your Parents," which discusses the issues related to changing needs in the home and making modifications and transitions, if necessary.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has many resources to help elders remain at home. To access local resources, visit its Web site and click on "Information by State," then click on your state or the elder's state.

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