As much as we try and as much as we might want improvements for people, we might not be able to reach everyone or complete all of the work we would like to for various reasons.
They resigned themselves to having the home that they had and figured that they would make do with what it was - even if there were challenges that they faced in terms of mobility, access, safety, or comfort. They adapted to what was there and made the most of it although they certainly could have done better with even some modest improvements.
Second, there are many people who may have engaged us to make improvements to their homes. They have modified their kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, bedrooms. entrances, access to the second floor, and other areas of their homes. Some have spent a relatively modest amount even though they could have spent more, and there certainly was more that could have been done. Others have invested a significant amount in major overalls of their living environment.
They approached aging in place issues seriously and did what they could and what they was suggested to do to get ready for the coming years.
Third, there are people who have taken aging in place seriously and have had assessments done to determine a feasible course of action and have consented to investing in the recommended improvements. Their homes have served them well for a while. Then, changing physical or cognitive conditions began to outpace the improvements that had been envisioned and completed. They literally were outliving the usefulness of their home.
Thus, there are many ways - from doing nothing, to not doing enough, to doing what was recommended at the time but finding that inadequate in the future - that the forever home turns out to be less than perfect for its occupants. Still, it's far better than the alternative - moving out and going to an institution.
Even when the forever or long-term home comes up a little short for meeting the mobility, sensory, or cognitive needs of its occupants, they still get to stay in their homes. Their homes don't have to be perfect (can they ever be anyway?) - they just need to provide reasonably comfortable and safe shelter.
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place 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.