Monday, February 1, 2016

"Everyone Is Aging In Place, But The Question Is How Well Is That Happening?"

All of us are aging. It is, as we say, a fact of life. Whether we are in our 30s or our 60s - any age really - we are aging, and we are doing it in the home or apartment where we live at the moment.

We may have selected our first home and then subsequent ones (up to and including the one we have now) because of the features it had, the location where it was, the price that we paid for it, or because that was all we could get at the moment that seemed reasonably well-suited for us. It might even have been an apartment that we rented.

Whether we still are in our initial home or we had one or more since then, the one we are in right now may or may not be our ideal home, the one we want to stay in long-term (our "forever home"), the one we can't afford to move from even if it's not perfect for us, or the one that meets our physical and emotional needs. It may require significant improvements and upgrading to turn it into the home we think it should be, or it may be pretty close to what we need and expect right now.

Regardless of where we are in our odyssey of moving from home-to-home over our lifetime - or finding and remaining in a home we already found - economics plays a big role in determining how long people live in a home and how often they might move over time.

Financial factors that govern how long people remain living their home include the out-of-pocket amount it takes to live in and maintain their current home, how much disposable income they have to apply to another home, how much to takes to replace the home they have, how much it will take to acquire a home that meets their space and layout needs, and what neighborhood they want to remain in or find.

So, the issue becomes one of the quality of life we have in our homes or apartments as we go through life. Do our homes provide the safety, comfort, convenience, peace-of-mind, security, and accessibility we seek and desire? If not, how prepared are we to have those issues addressed, and how able are we to pay for those modifications that might be called for or suggested?

These are questions that apply to everyone. Some people simply do not have the financial means to improve their current homes even though that would help them enjoy their passing years. Some have the resources to pay for improvements and renovations but are reluctant to commit to the work. Others are quite willing to have the work undertaken.

These are challenges and conditions we are going to face as aging-in-place providers as we prepare to help people adapt to their living space and have that space do the same.


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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.