Aging in Place vs Moving to a Retirement Community – The Pros and Cons 

aging in place

Baby Boomers face many important decisions as they move into their golden years. There is a lot of discussion surrounding the question of whether aging in place is a better option than moving to a retirement community. Like most difficult questions, there is no simple answer that works for all aging seniors. 

Reasons that Support Aging in Place

1. Staying at home can be a more affordable option for seniors in good health.

If your home has been kept in good shape with all needed repairs completed on a timely basis, then it is typically less expensive to age in place at home. It is worth mentioning that seniors now have the option of calling on In-Home Care agencies when needed. This potential cost must be factored into a decision about the financial feasibility of remaining at home. 

2. Familiar surroundings provide comfort and a sense of belonging.

One of the main reasons boomers cite wanting to stay in their home relates to a strong connection with the neighborhood and community. While some seniors might relish the idea of starting over completely and view it as an adventure, many seniors like the idea of shopping at the same local stores and chit-chatting with the neighbors they have lived near for years. 

Being close to family, friends, and trusted businesses provides stability.

3. Staying at home is less stressful than moving for many seniors. 

Few people would argue with the claim that moving is stressful. Like most people, boomers resist stressful decisions when possible. Peace of mind is always at the top of the list when seniors choose to stay at home instead of relocating.

Actions to Take if You Decide to Age in Place

Preparing for the future is nothing new for most seniors. Boomers interested in aging in place should consider remodeling their homes with safety and convenience in mind. Preparing for this eventuality with home updates that address mobility issues and safety offers practical solutions to prevent future problems. 

A good starting point is to assess your home for possible safety issues. A few of the most common proposed changes are replacing round doorknobs with levers, adding non-slip rugs with mats that grip the floor, and installing strategic grab bars in the bathroom shower or tub area. Personal alert systems that are wearable and can be used in case of an emergency are also highly recommended. 

Most seniors agree that having a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor makes sense. The Washington Post recommends changing out the lighting for brighter rooms that are well lit. The goal should be to prevent missteps and accidents that are more likely as eyesight becomes impaired and your reflexes slow down. 

Walk-in showers might be the way to go for seniors. That’s why many retirees replace bathtubs with showers. Getting in and out of a tub can be difficult. Granted, for seneiors who enjoy a nice hot bath, it might make sense to install grab bars. 

Reasons in Support of Moving to a Retirement Community

1. Enjoy low-stress living with no maintenance worries. 

After dealing with home repairs and hassles for years, many seniors appreciate living in a well-maintained facility without the hassle. Keeping the lawn cut or fixing a leaky faucet is no longer something they have to manage. Interestingly enough, many high-end communities even change the light bulbs for their residents. 

2. Promote peace of mind with personal care services and medical care as needed.

Granted, all retirement communities are different, but the majority of them offer the peace of mind boomers are seeking as physical challenges begin to worry us. Housekeeping services and help with personal hygiene are available in many retirement facilities. 

In the case of medical emergencies, there are professionals on staff to help. It’s a relief to know you’re never completely alone should accidents occur or other health challenges arise. 

3. Live the high life with upscale amenities common in retirement communities.

While it can be prohibitive to add a pool or tennis court in your backyard, many seniors are enjoying the country club lifestyle they always dreamed of during their younger years when buying a house in the right school district or living close to work were top priorities that took precedence over personal entertainment options. 

The amenities listed below are commonly available.

  • Exercise Equipment
  • Swimming Pool
  • Walking Paths
  • Billiards Room
  • Jacuzzi
  • Tennis Courts
  • Putting Greens
  • Outdoor Patios with Kitchens and Fireplaces
  • Theater Rooms
  • Poker Tables

4. Savor nutritional and delicious food without having to cook and clean up.

Shopping for food and cooking nutritional meals is not always the priority it needs to be to achieve optimal health. It’s nice to live like you’re always on vacation, knowing that your next good meal is being taken care of for you. It’s no secret that a healthy diet can be the best medicine for living a long and healthy life. 

5. Embrace a vibrant social life. 

As a boomer, it can be difficult to make new friends unless your circumstances conveniently surround you with people your own age interested in making a connection. Retirement communities sponsor activities so that there is always a place to go and people to meet. 

aging in place vs retirement community

It is common for these communities to set up the following activities. 

  • Happy Hours
  • Book Clubs
  • Sports Watching Events
  • Card Games
  • Coffee Clubs
  • Fitness Activities
  • Volunteer Activities
  • Community Advisory Meetings

The Takeaway

There is no right or wrong answer to this question about aging in place or moving to a retirement community. There are plusses and minuses that must be considered by all boomers. 

Belinda Tucker
A Baby Boomer herself, Belinda has a passion for investigating topics that are important to aging adults and then making any confusing concepts clear. Belinda's professional career included serving as a Corporate Recruiter, Mortgage Executive and Real Estate Salesperson. She writes for BoomerBuyerGuides.com on a variety of financial topics.