Saturday, November 25, 2017

"Homes Come In Many Shapes & Sizes, But They Have One Thing In Common"

This time of year draws a focus on the home. We invite people into our homes to share meals and fellowship. We have Thanksgiving celebrations with family and close friends, including nearby neighbors. We drop into each others' homes to visit and welcome the holiday. Soon, the year-end festivities will be here, and there will be even more home visits and celebrations.

We all have something different that we call home. Homes come in all shapes and sizes - and ages - from single level, two or more stories, basements, attached or detached garages (for the cars, storage, a workshop, a home office, a studio, a playroom, or an extra bedroom), from brand new to one built in the 1800s or even earlier.

Our home might be large or small - with one or two bedrooms or five or six. It can be in town in an urban or downtown neighborhood, or it can be in a more rural setting. It might be in more of a suburban setting. Some have very large yards with gardens and a pool. Some are much more compact. 

Regardless of what our home is, where is it is located, what it looks like from the outside, and what general condition it is in - and whether we own it or rent or occupy it with others - it is ours. There's a great amount of satisfaction in returning to the comfortable surroundings of our own home whenever we are away from it. It might be just for a few hours as we go shopping or running errands, for the day as we go to the office, or for a for days when we take a trip. This idea of looking forward to returning home after a brief absence is quite strong and relatively innate. We feel a sense of longing and a reconnection when we return home.

Still, our homes are there to receive us and welcome us when we return - however long the separation has been. That's the thing about our homes. They don't have to be that impressive to the entire world. They just have to matter to us. People may not like our decorating tastes. Some people may have a larger or smaller budget and furnish their homes accordingly. Some homes have large yards and others are more compact. Still, they are our homes.

A person's home conveys a sense of comfort, safety, and security to them. It may not be perfect in all of those areas, and we certainly have a chance, as aging in place professionals, to help people create a home that functions more successfully for them.

This is precisely where the concept of aging in place comes from and why it is so powerful. People simply like their homes and want to remain in them. They are loyal to their homes and the idea of living there for the long-term - even when those homes are inadequate to meet their needs. That is secondary to the much larger and stronger concept of people just wanting to retain and remain in their homes - and even if they are renters.

Ever notice the sampler that proclaims "Home Sweet Home?"

This is the one thing that all homes have in common - regardless of how dissimilar they may be in outward appearance, interior design or appointments, size, location, relative market value, or physical condition. All of them represent a sanctuary to those who live in them. Most people want to continue living in them as well.

This is the time of year when the importance of the home becomes so apparent. We need to keep this in mind as we plan for the new year and look for opportunities to serve people in our community. We can help people have a more accessible, enjoyable, and safe home by this time next year when the holidays roll around again.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, 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.