Friday, March 18, 2016

"A Person's Home Is Their Fortress"

There's an old adage that says that a person's home is their castle. As aging-in-place providers, we are charged with making this more than just a saying and into a reality for the people we are helping.

One of the key functions of aging-in-place is safety - along with comfort, convenience, and accessibility. Security is closely aligned with safety.

People - of any age - face constant challenges, as often as daily. They get up and leave home. They drive in traffic or take public transportation to school or work. They interact with other people - sometimes stressfully - and often are challenged to defend their position, work products, or ideas. They focus on surviving until they can return home again.

Many hours pass while people are in the public arena - working or going to school. They have deadlines, assignments, meetings to attend, and people to please. They compete with colleagues, peers, and associates, and seek the approval of supervisors, investors, board members, teachers, customers, clients, and others. After a long day, they contend with traffic to return home. Finally, after several hours away from the one place in the world where they feel truly safe and in charge, they return to their home or apartment.

Some people are fortunate to remain at home most of the time and not venture into the public arena. They are retired, self-employed, on vacation, or they tele-commute, or otherwise are exempt from regular time away from home to attend the office or school. They might have a sales business that operates from their home and takes them on various routes, never the same from day-to-day. Even for those not leaving home on a regular basis, however, there are still doctor appointments, trips to the store and pharmacy, and outings for general recreation purposes.

The point is that nearly everyone - except those confined to their homes - faces challenges from the outside world with varying amounts of frequency and intensity, and as often as every day.

So, when people literally survive the tension and stress of all of the outside pressures they face when they are away from home - even if just from traffic and people they come in contact with as they are trying to arrive at their destinations - they are looking for and deserving of a pleasant respite when they return home. They need to be able to pull up the drawbridge and remain feeling safe and protected inside their castle.

Our challenge as aging-in-place providers is to help people identify accessibility concerns, lighting issues, and general comfort and convenience deficiencies in their homes so that they can maximize the the safe feeling that needs to exist. We need to help them offset the challenges they face when they are away from home so that they enjoy returning to their homes.

They may not have much of a choice about leaving home to go to work or school, or keeping a doctor's appointment, but we can help provide the joy they feel about returning home and the feeling of well-being and safety they have inside the friendly walls of their castle - regardless of its size, age, or configuration.

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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.