Monday, May 29, 2017

"There Is No Place Like Home"

How often have we heard the sentiment that there's no place like home? There have been songs and poems written about the beauty of home. There is a famous sampler that declares that "there's no place like home."

As we go through life, we frequently have the opportunity to live in more than one place and make that our home - the dwelling as well as the neighborhood and community. We speak of our hometown.

Often we equate a home to one that we own, but this doesn't need to be the case. It could be one that we are sharing with our parents, at a college, or a rental apartment. Even when it is a home we own, it could be a new home or one that was owned previously. There could be a mix of these over time.

It doesn't matter what our ownership or tenant experience has been over the years, we may have found the ideal home for ourselves - or we are still looking for it. For those of us - and our clients also - who have found the home that makes them happy and the one they want to remain in, aging in place is a real strategy. It not just and idea but a way of life.

It's interesting as well how and why we acquired the home that we did. Did any of us seek a home that we could live in comfortably for the rest of our lives, or was it just fitting a need that we had at the time and we just kept on living there - liking it more all the time?

Some people do search for a home that they could occupy long-term, and this factors into their decision on whether to acquire it or not. Others are looking at price, location, amenities, features, appreciation potential, and other factors. Liking it for more than a few years wasn't high on the list initially - but sometimes it happens.

Regardless of why a home was purchased, or rented, at some point (and maybe this hasn't even happened yet) that home clicks. It seems like it offers everything - or could with some reasonable modifications - they need to be happy, safe, and satisfied in living their indefinitely.

So, in the course of moving through life, many people identify a home that they like well enough to consider remaining in it forever and are not looking for another one to replace it. Depending on their employment and whether moving for job-related reasons might be appropriate later on, people can come to this realization at any age.

It's not just people in their 60s or 70s that determine that they have found their long-term ("forever") home. This can happen at any age, or it's possible it never happens - people just continue to live in the home they have later in life without liking it that much but resigned to keeping it and making the best of it. They figure that remaining put is easier (and likely less expensive) than moving.

So, the question becomes one of whether a new dwelling is needed or advisable - and for what reasons their present home doesn't measure up to what they need or require. If it's where it located, that can't be changed without a move. However, if there is something physical about the home - layout, features, condition, styles, colors, or finishes - we can change that as aging in place professionals.

Throughout the past few decades, moving from home-to-home has been quite common, with the average person moving every five years. For many reasons, including the fact that we now are prepared to help people renovate and modify their homes as they age, moving may not be the best option for people.

After all, there is no place like home, and for many this means their present home.


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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Master 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. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.