Friday, February 19, 2016

"Aging-In-Place Works Because Moving Isn't Fun"

There are a lot of reasons that aging-in-place works and why it is a great strategy for people, but one of the chief reasons for remaining in the home that you're living in is that moving is not fun. We've learned this over the years. The days leading up to a move, the move itself, and the days immediately following a move are quite stressful for many people.

At younger ages, moving can be fun and is generally anticipated with some degree of excitement and adventure - moving out of your parents' home into your first place, moving from that first or second (or whatever number) apartment into your first home, moving into a larger home in a better location as your financial circumstances changed or your family grew, or moving to another city to pursue a new opportunity.

Later in life, however, moving isn't as much fun anymore. Some people would argue that moving is never fun even though it can be exciting or necessary.

Moving means that your present home - unless it's a place you're renting - has to be readied to be shown to potential buyers, advertised for sale, and then sold. For several weeks, if not months, prior to the actual sale there is a getting ready period where your home is no longer yours emotionally. You paint, fix, repair, and clean to get your home ready for potential buyers to view it in its best light. You treat your home as if you are just a guest because essentially that is what you are once you decide to sell it.

Moving - whether the home you're leaving is owned or rented - means putting everything you own into boxes, crates, or cartons and preparing it to be shipped to your new address. This is true whether you are doing the move yourself or having it done by professional movers. Then you also have to be prepared to accept two fundamental aspects of moving: things will get lost, and things will get broken. Not everything that you start out with will get to your new address in the same condition. If you want to avoid losing items or having them damaged, stay put and don't move.

At earlier stages of life, moving is not always something that can be avoided as space becomes too small for a growing family, as the commuting distance to that new, better paying job becomes uncomfortable, or that home that you're leaving needs more repairs or updates than you want to complete.

Later in life, however, staying in the home that we're living in - and possibly have for some time - becomes much more attractive. This is true even if it does need some repairs and maintenance. Over time, we have managed to accumulate a great deal of stuff that we aren't sure how to even go about preparing it to be be moved - even if that was something we wanted to do.

Therefore, aging-in-place is a very attractive option given the choice of preparing to move someplace else - either to another home or to a retirement facility. Besides, the expense of moving, not to mention the disruption of preparing to move and then actually doing it, can be saved and put into making some repairs or updates on the present home to make it safer or more enjoyable to remain living in over time. Also, the days and months of living out of boxes after the move and not knowing where everything is (even when the boxes are labeled) or if everything made it to the new home can be avoided.

Moving is just much more challenging than many people want to accept and embrace. Remaining at home is a much more pleasant option.

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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.