Sunday, February 12, 2017

"The Main Reason Aging In Place Works"

There are many reasons why people want to remain living in their current homes - whatever their current age, ability, or lifestyle - but especially true as we continue into what traditionally has been considered our retirement years.

We'll look at a couple of the top reasons, but the overriding one is perhaps one that people have not generally considered. We talk about the advantages of remaining where we are, the hassle of packing up and moving, the challenge finding new living quarters, and the economic factors of making a move - all valid considerations.

Nevertheless, as a people we are procrastination - not every single one of us, but in general this is true. We suffer from inertia. It is easier and more comfortable to remain doing what we are doing than to take the initiative to change it.

A large number of people - depending on which research is used - claim that they want to remain living in their current homes as they age. This number approaches 100 percent. Partly they want to stay where they are because they really like their home, its layout, the features it offers, and how it makes them feel to be in it.

Others like the neighborhood, their yard, their neighbors, and the nearby (within walking or biking distance) amenities, such as shopping or recreation.

There also is the economic fact that most people cannot afford to replace what they have for what they paid for it, what they have invested in it to improve it (if they have), and what it would take in today's dollars to find a comparable replacement in an area where they would enjoy living - tall orders, each one.

Of course, over the years, people collect and amass stuff, We are stuff magnets, so to speak. It maybe grade school papers, report cards, or trophies that we earned that we still have in a box someplace. Maybe it's from high school or college. We have athletic awards, academic honors, yearbooks, cards, letters, souvenirs or various events, and more. If we were in any youth programs, we have keepsakes from them - because we intentionally held onto them or because we just never got rid of them.

This same pattern of retention follows us throughout life.

Procrastination is the main reason that people remain living where they are - and it manifests itself in a couple of ways. As mentioned, we hang onto way too much stuff because we can't bear to part with it, we'll get around to sorting through it someday (but never do), we might need it again someday, or it could come in handy for another project.

Even if our homes do need a little work, or could benefit from having it done, many of us put that off also and just continue from day-to-day-to-day going about our lives and remaining in our homes. Maybe these weren't the homes we thought we would have at this point in our lives, but it is a home and it provides some measure of comfort and security for us.

In the final analysis, it's just easier and less complicated for many of us to remain where we are - with or without any improvements or modifications that might help us - and this is the main reason people age in place where they are and why there is such a focus on staying put.

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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.