Saturday, February 25, 2017

"Even If We Did Nothing, People Would Still Age In Place"

As aging in place professionals, we want to serve as many people around us as we can. We know the value of being able to remain living at home as we age, and that is our main charge - helping people to do just that.

Of course, some people are going to be more desirous of our help than others. Some are going to reject our help - for financial reasons, modesty, pride, denial, coping, or other reasons. We understand that. It's unfortunate that we can't help everyone whom we deem to be in need of our services, but that's life. Not everyone who could benefit from what we offer will choose to engage us or even consider doing anything themselves to improve their living situation.

As much as it might seem to be counter-intuitive, there are many people who will age in place by continuing to do what they have been doing over the past few years and by not doing anything special to their homes to make them safer or more comfortable for their advancing years.

For them, it's going to be strictly status quo. They are going to continue living in their homes as they have been. Their homes will progressively become less friendly to them as they age and as their needs increase. Nevertheless, these are their homes, and their occupants would not have it any other way - even if they had the financial resources or inclination to make improvements.

As a turns out, people have be doing just this for decades and decades. Some elderly people will have decided that they need to be in a facility where they can be cared for, looked after, or be around others like themselves. Conversely, many people will elect to remain at home even when they find that maintaining their quality of life to be more challenging that it has been.


If we do nothing to help some people - because we don't know who they are or what their needs are, or because they don't reach out to us on their own or through someone else close to them - they will continue to get by where they are. Is that ideal? Likely it is not, but it happens anyway.

We would love to be able to help people live in their homes safely, securely, and comfortably as they grow older. We know that typically vision and hearing decrease, reaction time slows, the ability to get around easily may decline, and other aging issues will complicate someone's ability to remain in their homes well. Nevertheless, that is exactly what they will do - continue living in their homes.

While our objective is ti help people live in their homes successfully and effectively as they age, we recognize that people that we aren't able to serve will live in their homes as they age far less functionally that we would like or that could otherwise be the case with a little help from us. It wouldn't necessarily need to be major - we could just do a few basic renovations to each home - but people will elect to forgo any positive improvements that could help them age in place more successfully.

Our challenge then is to find as many people like this as we can and attempt to connect with them so they can enjoy their homes more.

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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.