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Home Often the Best Retirement Haven

Elderly woman comfortably knitting at home.
Nearly 90 percent of older adults say they want to continue to live in their own homes.

Find home care near you or your loved one:

Many older adults fear they will lose their independence as they are age. If you’re one of those seniors, take heart. More options than ever exist for seniors who want to remain in control of their living situations. Top on the list — most seniors say — is remaining at home.

Q. It’s been about a year since my dear wife passed away, and I’ve been living by myself for the first time in 69 years. My comfortable old home just seems so big right now, but I am reluctant to move out. Some of my friends say I ought to consider a change of scenery. What are my options?

When you and your contemporaries were growing up, reaching retirement age probably meant that you moved in with one of your adult children or went straight to a care home. It’s not that way anymore. The good news is the options are many.

You could buy a smaller home, rent a house or live in one of many types of group settings. Your situation doesn’t necessarily call for a move to a care community.

According to industry surveys, most seniors share your sentiment. Nearly 90 percent of older adults say they want to continue to live in their own homes. There are a lot of things to consider and a lot of options nowadays.

You should check out your choices in a U.S. government publication, “Housing Options for Older Adults.” (PDF 1.6 MB) Included is a list of questions that may be helpful in making a decision:

  • What kind of lifestyle do I want? What will my living conditions be like?
  • How important is my choice of location? How close would I like to be to family and friends, doctors, pharmacies, other medical facilities, shopping, senior centers, religious facilities and other amenities?
  • Does my current health status require that I look for features that will help me move about more comfortably?
  • How much will the housing option cost?
  • What, if any, in­home support services will I receive for my money?
  • Am I eligible for any publicly funded or subsidized services, such as Medicare or Medicaid?
  • What in­home support services are available now, and in the future, to meet my health and social needs?
  • Have I involved family members and friends in my decision­making, as appropriate?
  • What role will others have in making these decisions?
  • Would it be advisable for me to talk with an attorney so that I understand my rights and any legal concerns?

If you don’t have a major health problem that needs constant attention and you just need a little assistance, you might consider home care. A Home Instead CAREGiverSM could help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminder, errands, shopping and companionship.

The Eldercare Locator, a free service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, could be a first step to finding resources. Or, to learn more about the Home Instead® network, call your local Home Instead office or check out

Last revised: February 15, 2012

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