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The Health Implications of Moving as a Senior

Posted by Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity on 9:00 AM on December 22, 2020

Moving from your home can be an arduous process for anyone. For seniors, moving can affect physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and add confusion and stress to their later years. But each person's living situation is unique, and the benefits and drawbacks of moving as a senior can look wildly different based on how an individual wants to live their life.

Health Implications of Moving as a Senior - husband and wife using tablet on couch – TC Habitat

With home improvements and technology helping older adults live at home longer than ever, many seniors find themselves weighing their options when it comes time to decide whether to stay at home or move to an assisted living community. Here are some of the pros and cons that can help make that decision a bit clearer.

Relocation Stress Syndrome and the Impact of Moving on Senior Health

When making the decision to age in place or relocate, don't underestimate the health implications that come with a change of address. For seniors, uprooting and moving to a new home can mean confusion and worry on top of the physical effort. Relocation Stress Syndrome (RSS) is defined as the anxiety and loneliness that can follow moving to a new place. While RSS can affect people of any age, it can have a negative impact on the physical and psychological well-being of seniors in particular.

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When added to the emotional toll of leaving their home, symptoms of RSS can include depression, stress, and decreased cognitive function, all of which have been associated with lower quality of life and shorter life expectancy. The impact can be even more profound when someone has lived in the home all or most of their lives; for some, it can be difficult to let go of their emotional attachment to the experiences and moments that happened there.

Don't Ignore Seniors' Need for Social Experiences

In later years, aging itself can increase an individual's risk of depression and isolation, and moving during that period in life can emphasize those effects. That's why, as a baseline, it's vital to make sure any senior has the tools and opportunities to be with or around other people as they age.

While many senior living communities offer socializing programs for residents, they're still an unfamiliar place. Many older adults would rather socialize within their own home and community. Senior socialization can be as simple as regular calls with family, joining friends for group activities like volunteering or games, or just being in public. 

Everyone's situation is different, but with the right resources, many seniors see an improved quality of life when they're able to live at home longer. Seniors and their loved ones should take stock of the effort required to stay at home or relocate, the potential lifestyle changes, and what life would look like on the other side of the decision.

We can help seniors make sense of the aging in place process with home services and support, house modifications, and answers to their most important questions. Click the button below to discover Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity's Age Well at HomeTM program.

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Tags: Age in Place, 2020, Age Well at Home

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