Sunday, February 14, 2016

"Aging-In-Place Is A Natural Process"

Aging-in-place as a strategy for allowing people to remain living in their present homes as they grow older has really come into its own. It is widely discussed, recommended, and followed.

Nevertheless, some agencies and governmental programs are looking for ways to encourage people to remain in their homes, apparently feeling that not enough people are participating in this concept or that people lack the motivation to do so.

Financial help may be required to allow some people to equip their homes with minimum safety requirements, but outside of that, motivating people to remain in their homes seems unnecessary. Aging-in-place is a natural process that just happens.

As people get older - they have two choices. Actually, this is true at any age, but in terms of aging-in-place, people can (1) choose to remain in their current homes for as long as they are able to do so or (2) move someplace else - another home that may be smaller and easier to maintain, a rental apartment, the home of their children or other relatives, or a retirement home.

People of limited means or ability may need help making their current homes safer, more accessible, or more comfortable to reside in so they can continue living their successfully, but there is no outside program - short of a CAPS consultant or contractor working with them - that is going to come in and make everything right for the majority of people that want to remain in their homes.

The homes that people currently live in have been serving their needs since they moved in - either well or not so well. They may really need some help making the improvements and modifications to their living space to make living in those homes enjoyable for the balance of their lives, but mandating changes is not the answer to helping people remain comfortably in their homes.

People naturally want to continue living in their homes - regardless of the type of home it is, regardless of their current age, and regardless of how well it actually accommodates their current needs, abilities, and lifestyles.

Even if nothing was done, and there was no big push or emphasis on getting people to remain in their present homes rather than moving into a retirement facility, the majority of people would continue living in their homes - aging-in-place. People don't have to be convinced to remain where they are. Their homes may need to be a little safer or more accessible for them that what they are currently, but there is a natural tendency to want to age-in-place and stay put.

Our roles, as aging-in-place specialists and providers is to suggest what steps might be advisable for people to take and identify funding sources for them if they lack the financial means to accomplish those improvements. Some modifications may be simple and relatively inexpensive to accomplish, while others are going to be more complex.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.