Monday, July 4, 2016

"Celebrating Independence - In More Ways Than One"

Happy Independence Day - July 4th! We have much to celebrate. Interestingly, embodied in the Declaration of Independence which we observe and celebrate on this day are those three magic phrases that echo among us down through the ages - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Look at how what we do for aging-in-place really captures that sentiment.

We are interested in people enjoying life - by continuing to stay in their current home surroundings without needing to move anywhere else to remain vibrant and viable - even if they have limiting conditions to live with as they age.

As for liberty, what is more liberating than to know that a person can remain living on their own - sometimes with the help of family or caregivers - and that they can do this is the home they have come to love?

For pursuit of happiness, consider that remaining independent, not having to move into a home (as nice as such a home might be) that is so different from what they are used to and where they want to remain, and being able to come and go as they please (subject to mobility or other concerns that might have a bearing on how easy it is to do this) are so uplifting to a person.

As we celebrate our nation's independence, let's secondarily think about the independence that is both desired by people who want to remain living in their homes and that offered by used as aging-in-place providers who can help make it happen.

If independence - being able to live and think for oneself and on one's own terms (subject to what it proper and legal behavior) - were not so important, would we have anything at all to celebrate today? Would our founders have just gone along with the status quo until something changed to provide more choices and eventual independence rather than demanding it in 1776?

If it were not important, would we even be discussing aging-in-place and would we have a CAPS program at all to help people achieve and maintain their independence?

Living on our terms in our own homes doesn't rise to level of creating a government as our founders so wonderfully did, but aging-in-place is well worth celebrating just the same.

We are appreciative of the solutions we can offer, new products that are available for us to use, outcomes that we can create, and the primary objective of keeping people in their homes to live independent lives for as long as they desire - indefinitely essentially. 

On this Independence Day, let's celebrate both the founding of our country and independence day (with lower case letters) to acknowledge the choice that people can make to continue living in their homes. Sometimes, it's not even a conscious choice but an evolving one that just seems to work.

July 4th is a very special day in our nation's history. The day that people realize that they don't need to move from the home they enjoy - which wasn't always the case - whichever day that might be on the calendar, and whatever their age might be at the time, is worth celebrating also!

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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.