Aging in Place in a Retirement Community: 90+ Year Olds

J Hous Elderly. 2013 Jan 1;27(1-2):191-205. doi: 10.1080/02763893.2012.754822.


Aging in place, an image of growing old in one's home and maintaining one's daily routine, is desired by most older adults. To identify variables promoting such independent living in the oldest-old, we examined the association between living situation of a population-based cohort of 90+ year olds with health and lifestyle variables. Of 1485 participants, 53% still lived in their home at a retirement community designed to foster wellness. Those living at home tended to be healthier, with smaller proportions having chronic diseases or hospitalizations in the preceding year and a greater proportion having normal functional ability. Dementia was the chronic disease most significantly related to living situation. In addition to not having dementia, not using a wheelchair or bath aid, receiving meals on wheels, and being married were jointly related to living at home. With the help of family and friends and with a medical and social support system, many 90+ year olds can age in place. This is often because they have a caregiving spouse or paid caregiver.

Keywords: activities of daily life; aging in place; independent living; leisure activities; self-help devices; supportive services.