We tried to get my 94 year old dad to live with us... he chose to live in a retirement place where he had his own 1bedroom apartment with kitchen, living room, bathroom, and patio. He missed his 10acre "garden" but did enjoy meeting all the adorable young (90's) single ladies and ended up with a girlfriend. He died a few years later, happier to still be independent.
The rest of my relatives - all alive in their 90's still live in their own homes. People come in to help when needed and they have a very strong church family if they need any help. Being on your own is best if at all possible.
My 81-yr old MIL currently lives with us, but this isn't an ideal home for our old age. There's a lot of stairs, and the property is on a hillside with lots of gardening to do, so it's impossible if you're at all disabled or limited in strength/mobility. I broke my leg in a compound fracture in 2004 and what an eye-opener! It was four months of sleeping on the LR sofa (my MIL wasn't living with us at the time, thank goodness), couldn't get to the master suite and the garden (less than 2500 sq. ft, but 15 different beds all either uphill or downhill) went to heck.
We plan to eventually sell this home and rent somewhere; maybe from relatives, maybe a senior community. We don't have children, so instead made sure we did our financial planning and purchased LTC insurance policies. We don't have enough assets to totally self-insure, but the policies will help prevent financial crisis if one of us suddenly becomes disabled and needs help.
Unfortunately, the extended family is very rare out here where we live. People move around a lot and even a 25-mile drive over the bridge can be a nightmare at commute times. My MIL does have a nursing home benefit in her retiree benefits, but no home health care. That's why we urged her to sell her home - she was house-rich and cash poor, and I knew the RE market was softening fast. She loved her home, but it was very disabled-unfriendly and costly to upkeep. Now she has enough money to travel to visit her relatives, and still eventually pay for senior facilities when she will need them.
She misses her neighbors, but overall she's much better off. There's plenty of senior activities to get involved in, and a friend of ours acts as a paid personal assistant when she needs to be driven around. I think "being on one's own" is too subjective - in many ways my MIL can live independently, but in certain areas - not so much. Her living with us has shown us that she is beginning to suffer from dementia (not Alzheimer's) and is slowly declining in her mental abilities. Her decision-making is very poor and her knowledge of health/nutrition is almost non-existent. When she came to live with us I was shocked at how much junk food she ate, simply because she hates to cook and won't do anything beyond microwave-ready. With us, at least she eats better!
Independence is a state of mind. My MIL is a product of her generation: utterly dependent upon someone else (preferably male) to make all the decisions, from what friends to make to what to eat for dinner. Yes, it drives me crazy sometimes because I was brought up in a very woman's-liberated, intellectual, independent family. But she really can't live alone, and shouldn't. The one critical thing for us to accomplish was to make certain her legal and financial affairs are well-handled in case anything happens to us, as DH is an only child. We've arranged her affairs as best we can, and hope that everything works out.
Retrieving data ...