Aging at Home Loses Lustre during COVID

February 2021

For those wanting to remain at home as they age, financial concerns are just one consideration.

Isolation and loneliness can be overwhelming when living at home and alone.  Symptoms  include heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.  Someone living on their own is less likely to eat well.  Anyone prone to falling or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can be at greater risk living at home alone.

Retirement and long-term care facilities exist for good reason.  They allow residents to remain in their chosen community near friends and family while providing companionship, assistance and meals.

Higher death rates in these facilities due to COVID has made some reconsider moving themselves or family members to them.  Many of those who died in these homes did so alone and isolated.

Given these risks, some are choosing to remain at home in a familiar environment near family and friends.  Cost to remain at home is known, and often less than moving to a retirement home – for those who can live independently – or long-term care facility.  High-rise and condo living make remaining at home easier.  This lifestyle choice typically doesn’t include stairs thus making more of the home accessible regardless of mobility status.  There are fewer decisions to be made regarding the home and fewer individual bills to pay.  More opportunities for companionship and socialization in the building, without having to travel, is important.

For those choosing to remain at home, home care services can be expensive with full care reaching $10,000 per month for 24-hour coverage.  For those in need of more limited assistance, finding this help is easier and more economical when residing in a high-rise community located close to public transit.

Long-term care facilities have fees usually set by government.  In Ontario, semi-private accommodation is $2,280 per month; add another $421 for private accommodation.  During COVID we have learned that these facilities are not as well equipped to deal with the COVID pandemic.

Retirement homes are a more expensive option providing a superior lifestyle including nicer and better maintained accommodation, more desirable food options, more extensive amenities and activities, and social programming.  Cost can be more than $4,000 per month with an additional $2,000 per month for personal assistance.

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