Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Resolved: To Remain Living At Home"

This is the time for New Year's Resolutions - those made within the past couple of weeks or ones being formulated right now. Forget about losing weight or giving up a bad habit - we can still do that, but there's something more important for us as aging in place professionals and for those we serve to put at the top of our list.


There's really only one resolution that carries any weight - aside from being healthy or overcoming some significant mobility or aging issue - and that is continuing to live in one's home. That needs to be our consensus new year's resolution that applies throughout the population.

We know that nearly everyone wants to remain living in their present home as they age. There are many reasons for this. Three principal ones comes to mind.

First, people actually enjoy their neighborhood and the home they have. They enjoy going for walks in the morning, afternoon or early evening. They know the areas where dogs won't bother them. They know where the traffic is light. Maybe they enjoy an occasional bike ride also.

They like the layout of their home. It's pleasant and comfortable for them. Maybe it's not ideal, but it works for them - better than anything else they could imagine having at this point in their lives. It might need a few tweaks here and there, but it is in reasonably good repair and condition.

They can do their hobbies where they are - in a spare bedroom, the garage, or basement. Maybe they have an auxiliary building or like taking care of the landscaping or growing flowers and vegetables during the nicer weather.

Second, economically it works. No matter when they purchased their home - and for some it's been a couple of decades or more - they have equity in their homes. Many have a very small mortgage or already own their homes outright. For them to consider purchasing something else just wouldn't make sense - especially when considering the first point about actually liking where they live.

Even looking past the replacement cost to get a comparable home to what they have now, the land costs, association fees, taxes, and other expenses would be more than what they pay currently - not to mention the costs to erect a similarly sized structure to their current one. Then, there are the marketing, moving, fixing up the current home, and decorating expenses for their new home. 

Third, people have a lot of stuff. They have accumulated a lifetime of memories and items from years ago, possibly their childhood and younger years, and certainly from their children and grandchildren. They likely have boxes and closets stuffed full of items - along with the garage and basement. They might even have a storage facility where they keep excess items. It is an overwhelming concept to think of putting all of that into a truck - or possibly more than one - and moving it across town.

Therefore, we want everyone who desires to do so - whether in perfect health or not - to remain living in their present home throughout 2017. That is our resolution for all - and we need to do our part to help make it happen for people.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, 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.