Where Will You Live as You Grow Older?

Many people would rather not think about the consequences of aging in general, much less the possibility that they might need help meeting their daily medical or personal needs in the future. Yet recent research projects that most Americans (56%) who are age 65 or older will require long-term care support and services in their lifetimes.1

For this reason, there may come a time when you rethink the practicality of your living situation. And planning ahead could help ensure that you will have access to the type of care you need, in the setting that you prefer, as you age. Here are some common options to consider.

Your home

Given a choice, you might prefer to receive care in your own home, as it offers a measure of independence in a familiar environment. Family caregivers, friends, or paid workers could assist with everyday tasks, and professionals such as nurses and home health aides could provide home health care. In addition, a variety of community support services may be available, including adult day-care centers and transportation services.

Assisted living facilities

If you want to remain independent but need some help with activities of daily living on a regular basis, you might choose to live in an assisted living facility. These home-like facilities offer housing, meals, and custodial care (help with bathing, dressing, housecleaning, etc.) but generally not medical or nursing services.

Continuing care retirement communities

Also known as life plan communities, CCRCs provide a range of services — from independent living to full-time skilled nursing care — all in the same location, allowing you to age in place. The housing options offered by CCRCs may include townhouses or cottages for independent living, assisted living apartments, and nursing home accommodations.

Why People Need Care

Why people need care: 47% have an age-related physical limitation; 32% experience cognitive impairment; 24% suffer from a chronic illness; 23% need rehabilitation from an accident; 10% suffer from acute illness

Source: Genworth, 2021 (multiple responses allowed)

Nursing homes

Nursing homes are generally the most expensive (and least desirable) option, but they are often a last resort for those with serious health conditions who can no longer take care of themselves. State-licensed nursing facilities offer more specialized skilled care, custodial care, and intermediate care — which is for individuals who were hospitalized and require rehabilitation and additional support until they are well enough to return home.