In Lane County, a range of services support seniors who want to stay in their homes

After losing her husband of 67 years, Marge Williamson considered moving into a retirement facility. She had toured it, and even deposited money, before changing her mind.

“I just knew it wasn’t right for me to go into assisted living,” Williamson said. “I love this home.”

In addition to wanting to spend as many years as possible on her five quiet Creswell acres, Williamson, now 89 and a retiree, doesn’t want to leave the community where she’s been an active volunteer. Nor does she want to be far from the friends she’s made over the years.

Many seniors are making that choice to age in place, rather than move into assisted living or another retirement community.

In fact, 98 percent of seniors say they would prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, according to the Lane Council of Government’s Senior & Disability Services, citing an AARP survey.

Though it certainly isn’t without some difficulties — loneliness and physical challenges, for example, even for those who are active and have help — it is possible for healthy seniors to successfully spend many of their last decades in the homes they love.

The benefits of a retirement community or assisted living facility can include structure, companionship and easy access to activities and meals, but there are also rules and sometimes high costs.

For those who want to age at home instead, it is possible in Eugene, Springfield and the surrounding communities because of a deep network of support services meant to help seniors get around, stay healthy, maintain social ties and even get in-home help, when needed.

“Most older people prefer to live in their own homes, so it’s our mission to provide independence, dignity and choice,” said Jody Cline, director of Senior & Disability Services, a division of the Lane Council of Governments.

“It is almost 100 percent always less costly to live in your own home, even if in your own home you need to bring in a caregiver for part of the day,” Cline added.

Read more

By Cara Roberts Murez, The Register-Guard