What our aging parents fear most

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Seniors fear moving into a nursing home and losing their independence more than death, according to a new research study, Aging in Place in America, commissioned by Clarity and  The EAR Foundation.


The study looked at the attitudes and anxieties of the nation’s elderly. The children of seniors also fear for their parents, with particular concern about their emotional and physical well-being should they have to enter a nursing home.


One of the most significant findings of the study is that, when asked what they fear most, seniors rated loss of independence (26%) and moving out of their homes into a nursing home (13%) as their greatest fears. These two possibilities are a much higher concern than death, which was the greatest fear for only 3% of seniors surveyed.


Other key findings include these:

•  Most seniors want to age in place. That means they want to grow older without having to move from their homes. More than half are concerned about their ability to do so.

•  Seniors cited three primary concerns that could jeopardize their ability to live independently: health problems, memory problems and inability to drive or get around.

•  Many seniors said they are open to or would like to use new technologies that enable independence. More than half would consider the use of technology in their homes—specifically, sensors—to monitor their health and safety.

•  Most Baby Boomers fear their parents will be mistreated in a nursing home and fear they will be sad. Almost two-thirds of Boomers provide some kind of help or support for their aging parents.


“These findings tell us that, above all else, older Americans value their ability to live independently,” said Peter Bell, president of National Aging in Place Council. “As a society, we must find ways to help our parents and grandparents live their latter years at home.”

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