Many people elect to age in their own homes as opposed to moving to a retirement community or other similar arrangement This option can result in increased enjoyment of one's later years along with a heightened sense of peacefulness and well-being. However, it is not without its challenges This article will explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of aging in place as it pertains to those who choose to live in a rural setting.
Advantages of aging in place in a rural setting
The lifestyle in a rural setting is usually slower-paced than in an urban setting. Those elderly people who have lived in a rural setting for years or even decades may have a difficult time transitioning into a more urban setting and may be extremely unhappy if forced to do so. The pace of life in a rural setting may be more agreeable to those who have slowed down and prefer more peace and quiet.
Further, community ties in rural areas tend to be higher An elderly person in a rural area will be more likely to receive emotional and social support from those around him or her. Particularly in very small towns, an elderly person may be viewed as something of a community treasure and may find that people enjoy dropping in to visit with and check on him or her. In contrast, in urban areas, an elderly person may easily become lost in the crowd and may find that he or she is living a life of relative anonymity.
Living itself tends to be cheaper in a rural setting Many elderly people are on fixed incomes and given the choice between paying rent of, for example, $500 a month in a rural setting or $1,500 a month in a suburban or urban setting, the more economical choice is clear. In addition to rent, basic services and goods also tend to be cheaper in rural areas, and an elderly person will find that his or her fixed income stretches further in these areas.
Challenges in aging in place in a rural setting
For all its advantages, there are some real challenges to those who wish to remain in a rural area as they age. Some of these challenges are little more than inconveniences; however, some of them can be very serious and even deadly.
Living in a rural setting means that there will most likely not be any real attempt at providing public transportation. An elderly person may find that if he or she needs to go to the grocery store, he or she is faced with either attempting the drive or waiting for a friend or relative who may be able to provide transportation.
As a person ages, the ability to drive tends to erode, and eventually many (if not most) elderly people stop driving altogether When your elderly loved one reaches this point, his or her options for transportation will be severely limited. In contrast, in urban areas, elderly people who do not wish to drive can easily take a bus, subway, or other viable form of public transportation.
In addition to the transportation issue, rural settings tend to provide fewer services for the elderl. While there may be senior citizen centers in urban areas where elderly people may go for companionship, entertainment, and socializing, these opportunities are significantly limited in rural areas.
Finally, the availability of medical services is somewhat limited in many rural areas. While a doctor or family practitioner is likely available pretty much anywhere, more specialized healthcare professionals may not be available. This means that an elderly person needing such services will have to take a long trip to an urban area. Depending on his or her health, such a trip could be impossible or even fatal.
Aging in place in a rural area has its advantages as well as its challenges. If your elderly loved one is considering this option, it would be a good idea to sit down with him or her and talk through these issues.
Lifetime Resources (website) Aging in Place. Available at https://www.lifetime-resources.org/aginginplace.html Last visited October 28, 2015.