Planning to Live at Home as We Age

Happy Elderly Woman in Sitting in Her Wheelchair and Smiling

Most people hope that they will stay in their own home or dwelling, continuing to live independently, or with family and loved ones, as they age. However, medical and other issues often interrupt these wishes.  While nursing care or assisted living may end up being the appropriate decision for some, careful planning to remain at home may be an option for other seniors.

Homes chosen at an age where stairs are easy to go up and down, or when bathtubs pose no problems, may require alterations as residents age.  This post seeks to share information about how seniors and their loved ones may consider altering the current dwelling and exploring support services before there is a critical situation.

A 2011 report in JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) estimates that homebound seniors far outnumber the 1.4 million residents in nursing home facilities.  The report also found that most homebound seniors are more likely to be female and have had a hospital event in the past year.

The New York Times wrote in 2015 about how seniors in the urban New York areas may feel imprisoned in their home once medical illness makes a challenge of climbing even a few steps to get groceries or to out to see friends.  Urban areas sometimes offer more assistance solutions than more rural, isolated locations.  The article points out that “aging in place also requires a variety of supportive services”.  Seniors may need in-home care, assistance with getting groceries, and may need alterations to make the home safer and more accessible.

Woman in a wheelchair using a ramp

Eldercare Locator, a division of the Division on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services offers resources to seniors

and their caregivers to assess what modifications are needed, how to locate modification and repair services in the community, and also how to identify funding assistance for these services.

It is important to remember that in addition to physical changes at  home, seniors need to maintain social connection and activities appropriate to their situation. Remember to identify ways to keep in touch with friends and family on a regular basis, and perhaps develop hobbies that can be pursued at home if going out becomes more difficult.

Your community may have additional resources, both formal and informal, which a local senior center or other organization could be helpful in identifying.  And, if you opt to use a professional in-home care group, please read reviews and talk to other consumers to make an informed decision.

At Rosen & Spears, we believe it is never too early to start the discussion about planning for later years in life, and trying our best to make arrangements for ourselves and for our loved ones to live as independently as safely advisable, and to have as much dignity as our situation will allow.


Rosen & Spears, Attorneys at Law, focuses on issues of medical malpractice, nursing home neglect or abuse, and other types of claims that seek to protect consumers and seniors.

For more information or free case consultation, please contact us.


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About the Author: Marian Rosen