Sunday, July 2, 2017

"No Permits Or Approvals Required - Go Ahead And Age In Place"

In a time when so many regulations exist and so many permits or approvals have to be obtained before undertaking something major, it's great to know that a life-changing event such as deciding to remain living in one's current home and not moving from it as the years go by does not need anyone's consent before beginning. There is no government body to rule on our application, and there is nothing to file or fees to pay. It just happens.

It doesn't matter how well-suited anyone's home is for them to remain there - from being fine the way it is to needing many safety and accessibility improvements.

Still, no one has to approve anything. If the situation gets out of hand from a safety or compliance issue, local jurisdictions or non-profit organizations may intervene, but this is done after an issue has occurred and does not happen on the front end of someone making the decision to remain where they are.

Normally we think of aging in place as something that applies to seniors and retirees. It does, but it is not limited to any certain age group. Anyone, at any age or ability, with a family or not, can decide (consciously or by default) to remain indefinitely in their current home.

Whether someone's current homes is ready for them to age in place is not anyone's immediate concern except theirs and ours - when we are invited in to help them - certainly not any regulatory body since this doesn't apply. We begin, as we would with any consulting situation, by conducting a needs assessment and evaluation to determine the physical condition of the living space and the needs, requirements, and abilities (mobility, sensory, and cognitive) of our client.

Ideally, aging-in-place is an intentional decision that people choose for themselves - and then learn about and make the necessary improvements and modifications to their homes that will facilitate their accessibility, maneuverability, comfort, convenience, and personal safety. Sometimes, there really is no decision because the people deciding to remain in place just do so without ever seriously considering the possibility of a move.

They are confident in their decision - or sometimes no-decision - because they know that they can remain in place just by doing so, they know that they don't need to make a formal declaration of their intentions or notify anyone, they know that they are no papers to file or forms to complete and have approved, and that there are no required feed to pay or governmental inspections necessary before they can continue living in their home tomorrow and beyond just the same as they did today, yesterday, and previously.

This is the really great thing about aging in place - no one needs to authorize it for the individuals who want to remain in their homes and apartments long-term. Ideally, we would learn about many of these individuals and be able to assist them. Again, there is no requirement that this occur. We just know that we have the ability, insight, knowledge, and compassion to evaluate what they have and determine a course of action - based on their budget and many of factors - to help them live in their homes more comfortably, safely, and enjoyably than otherwise might be the case.

Aging in place is great, and it's even better since it requires no advance notification or approvals from anyone before it can occur. In fact, some people may be well into the process of aging in place without even realizing it since it such a gradual transition from just living in the home for a period of time to living in it indefinitely.

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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.