Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"No One Is Immune From Aging"

No one is immune from aging - no one escapes it. We have different ways of slowing down its effects and for not letting the outward or physical signs of aging show, but as the years pass, we all experience some form of aging. It's inescapable, and for some it's more pronounced than for others.

Not only that, but everything ages - our homes, our cars, our food. Buy produce at the market and put it on the shelf for a week and then look at it. It doesn't look so fresh. They put expiration or best sell by dates on packages because the useful life or quality of a product fades over time. Even fine wine can age past the time when it is pleasant to drink. Manufacturers are constantly updating and upgrading their products to add the latest technology and remove design features that no longer are desired or useful.

Clothing styles change. How many people are walking around today in leisure suits, double knits, or bell-bottoms? If we were to see such outfits, it would be quite obvious as from an earlier time.

We can deny that we are aging, we can invest in cosmetic surgery or skin treatments to keep the physical signs of aging to a minimum, we can attempt to dress younger or wear a younger looking hairstyle, and we can exercise (mind and body) to keep looking and feeling young for years. Still, aging is a natural part of life.

As aging-in-place professionals, we get to help people come to terms with the aging process in a way that minimizes any effect the passing years are having on their physical or mental abilities. We get to help them move about successfully in their homes and access the features in the space much the same as they could when they were considerably younger.

Aging-in-place means that people can stay in their current homes for as long as they like and have those home function reasonably well for them. Notice that the term is aging-in-place so we are admitting that people do grow older. There is no denying it. It's not called forever young, for instance.

Since we all age - admittedly at various rates and in different ways - and there is no denying this, why not make the most of it and approach aging proactively to seize on the opportunities for creating enjoyable and safe living spaces? That's the concept of aging-in-place, and it's not limited to seniors. People are aging throughout life, so let's address their issues at whatever station in life they find themselves. 

Everyone - regardless of where they are living at the moment, their current age, their physical state, or their income level - deserves to live in a place that is as safe, comfortable, convenient, accessible, and enjoyable to them as their resources allow or as we can help them attain.

Of course people have differing needs, requirements, and budgets, but the common fact of life is that we all are aging - from birth onward - and there is no going back. We must deal with aging in the best way that we can - both personally and professionally - based on our experience and knowledge base and the needs and abilities of those we are serving.

This is why we have chosen to be aging-in-place professionals - to address a fact of life common to every single person.
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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.