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Do Elderly Want To Live At Home?

Last update on: Mar 15 2020

This article takes issue with surveys that say 90% of today’s elderly say they want to live in their current homes. The surveys usually are interpreted to mean that people want to stay in their homes until they die. Like most surveys, these don’t ask key follow-up questions, such as if your family had to care for you would you want to stay at home? The surveys also ask generally healthy people if they’d like to continue living at home. It’s more important to ask people who are having trouble with the tasks of daily living if they prefer to remain in their homes.

What’s also curious to me is, what is the real question these respondents are answering? When my mother-in-law was living in an assisted living facility she kept repeating to us, “I want to go home.” We kept wondering what she meant and asked, “Where do you mean?” Turns out, she didn’t mean the last place she had lived in before moving into the facility. Or even to the house she and her husband lived in for 40 years. She meant the past. She wanted to go back to the time when she was living in her wonderful home with her family and most of her life was ahead of her.

I’m in the demographic group that researchers survey. That is, I’m “over 65.” And of course I want to live at home. If I didn’t, I’d move. And if could afford it, I’d move myself into a hotel or, better yet, a full time resort. Or if I didn’t like my current home, I’d move to another one. The key here is that I know I’m perfectly capable of living by myself.




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