Saturday, February 27, 2016

"Aging-In-Place Isn't Always Intentional"

Aging-in-place - the act of someone continuing to live in their present home and remaining there for as long as they desire - is becoming increasing popular. In fact, most people (as high as 9-out-of-10) would choose to remain living in their current home rather than having to move into a nursing home or retirement enter if faced with that option.

However, many homes are not that well-suited for people to remain in them effectively without modifications. That's where we come in.

As aging-in-place professionals, consultants, and providers, we get to help people realize that objective of remaining in their homes successfully through modifications that allow their normal activities as much as possible in their present homes.

The real challenge is with the number of people who want to remain living in their homes but who are just aging-in-place in their homes more accidentally or indifferently rather than intentionally.

Ideally, aging-in-place is an intentional decision and action that people choose for themselves - and then learn about and make the necessary improvements and modifications to their homes that will facilitate their accessibility, maneuverability, comfort, convenience, and personal safety.

Nevertheless, people may continue to live in their current homes without any regard or thought as to how well equipped those homes are to accommodate their changing needs as they age.

Just as many people are in denial about getting older or about needing to take certain aspects of their home or lifestyle into account as they no longer function in ways they have in the past, they also are unwilling to admit that their homes require any type of modification to make living in those homes safer, more comfortable, easier, or more pleasant.

Thus, aging-in-place often is unintentional - it just happens. There are a large number of individuals who currently are putting off or delaying any thoughts of how well they may be able to function in their current homes as they age, and we need to be ready to help them as they slowly come to the realization that their homes are not that well designed to meet their needs. 

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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.