Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Surprise! We Are Getting Older"

No one likes the idea of growing older, but do we really have a choice? We can do many things to keep ourselves as young as possible - including denying it, We can associate with younger and more vibrant people, exercise, get plenty of liquids and sleep, eat nutritious food, avoid dangerous or risky activities, and maintain our skin and hair. All of that won't matter, however, if we suddenly take ill with a very serious disease or we are the victim of a serious accident.

Therefore, in the larger sense, getting older and living a long life are really largely out of our control. We do what we can and hope for the best.

Since we can only do our best to maintain our health and must rely on outside influences being kind to us, aging in place takes on the dimension of planning for good results for ourselves and our clients.

If we knew that we were going to live a certain number of years and could be assured of that, we would approach aging in an entirely different way. Since that isn't the case, we have to assume that we are going to live an indefinitely vibrant life but understand that it could dramatically change at any moment.

It's not just us that are getting older minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, and day-by-day. Our cars, our clothing, our furniture and appliances, our homes, and even those warranties and service agreements that protect them (and us against expensive repairs) are getting one day older and one day closer to possible failure or replacement. Scary thought, but very real.

We should go through our pantries and cupboards to see how many items that we purchased only a few months ago were only good through 2016. At the time, it seemed like a long time off. Now those items are expired. Find any really old and outdated items that got pushed to the back? Thought so.

The point is that everything ages - time marches on, as they say. Therefore, we have to be diligent in planning our homes for ourselves and our clients. Just because we could climb stairs or steps ten years ago doesn't mean it's as safe or comfortable today. There could be other thing about our homes (and of course, by extension those of our clients) that we don't enjoy as much anymore or that never really were that safe - entrances, porches (or lack of them), appliances, bathrooms, food preparation and eating areas, and other parts of the home.

There's no time like the present to get started with evaluating what our homes might need and then formulating remodeling plans to take care of them. The same goes for for our potential clients - all of the homes that we have already identified as needing help in the coming year, plus those we will see as we begin looking a little harder at the market.

It's a new year. If resolutions have been made, we can honor them - plenty of time to do that. If none have been made about this, they still can be made. Better safe than sorry, and we definitely can do something about this. We have to age, but we don't have to do it poorly.

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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.