Friday, July 8, 2016

"Our Choices Are Changing For Where We Age"

As people grow older, they now have several options about where they might want to live in the future. In years past, that decision was essentially limited to moving in with family or going to a nursing or retirement home. This was before the aging-in-place concept took off and people realized they had other options.

People may still want to move in with family. The extended family of multiple generations is desired by many people, and it seems to work well when families already have a close relationship. The parents or other senior members of the family (aunts, uncles, or older siblings) are embraced as vital, essential members of the family. The younger members of the family that become the hosts to the older ones desire their presence. When children are present, the older members can assist with childrearing and supervision will offering a solid connection from another generation and time. In many ways, this is a healthy and effective relationship.

When there was no family to move in with, seniors used to have to consider nursing homes or retirement centers as the place to live when they felt that they couldn't maintain their own residence or decided they needed the company or companionship of others - that they weren't getting where they were living. Also, some people simply don't have younger family members that can take care of them.

Today, there are at least three other options or opportunities for seniors to consider - regardless of their health or physical abilities. The biggest change that has occurred in recent years is for people to continue living in their present homes - and to be encouraged to do so.

Aging-in-place is the name we give to idea that people can remain living where they are without needing to move into a retirement center at some advanced age. While some people may choose to do so, that is a choice - as is remaining at home where there is a large measure of comfort, convenience, safety, and security. Where there isn't, we have the opportunity to help make this happen.

Depending on their physical needs and requirements, it's possible for people to remain in their homes for the long-term and not need to consider leaving. They can just go on living where they are comfortable and where they are among familiar surroundings - both inside their home and in the neighborhood.


While people have likely been doing this on an individual basis over the years, there now is a concerted effort to encourage people to remain independent and to live where they are as long as they feel that they can. There are even caregivers and agencies that can assist them to continue their independence.

Two other options that are becoming more popular for people as they age is to live together with other seniors in a group home situation where several of them can share a living space - each with their own bedroom and common areas for their other needs. This is run by a live-in building manager to see that everyone's needs (including meals) are met. The advantage is that there is a community of people who can socialize and experience life together as they age.  

The second is similar. Someone who already has a home can take in one or a few other people as renters to provide companionship and share the expenses. Rather than trying to keep up a residence by themselves, the homeowner can have others to rely on.
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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.