Others desire to rent and not purchase a home to occupy - they may go most of their life if not an entire lifetime and never live in a home that they have purchased. They may tell themselves that they are saving for an eventual down payment on a future home purchase even if a purchase never happens, they might enjoy not caring for a home in terms of normal maintenance, or they prefer the freedom of being able to move frequently without marketing their home first.
While it may seem like a relatively new phenomenon because there is so much focus on it recently, for years, people have been deciding to live long-term in a home that meets their needs. This is arguably the largest group of homeowners - regardless of their current age, family situation, age and condition of their home, or how long they have lived in it. This is the aging in place market or "AIP" - what most of us are concerned in addressing.
The AIP market wants to remain in their current home indefinitely - for the long-term. For some in this market, they have found what they believe to be their "forever" home already (whether by chance or conscious effort to locate and locate and find it) and see no need to move from it. Others have no real issue with their present home and don't really think about or dwell on the possibility of replacing it down the line.
Aging in place comes about in many different ways, but the bottom line is that people want to remain in their current home. It may serve their needs perfectly as it is. It may be real close to meeting their current situation, and with a little help can get the rest of the way there. It might serve them better with a little TLC or renovation. It might need a lot of work, but the neighborhood, the size of their investment, and other factors make moving rather impractical for them so they are committed to remaining where they are.
For many people, it's a financial or economic issue - they simply cannot afford to replace what they have now. They can't get the same size home or layout for the money they spent on their current home. For what they could sell their present home for, it would take considerably more to replace it. Thus, they remain where they are - not that this makes them unhappy.
Others - and this includes most everyone - have such an accumulation of stuff, memorabilia, and a lifetime of memories stored where they are that it makes the prospects of moving seem quite tall. Some cannot part with what they have and don't see moving as the answer to their space issues. Others know that it would take an inordinate amount of time to sort through and cull what they have. Better just to remain put.
So, whether the initial objective was to find a long-term home, or it just happened, AIP is real. Those of us who provide services to people who want to remain in their homes - such as safety evaluations and makeovers, accessibility renovations, room additions or reconfigured space, new products and finishes, technology, or modernization - there is a huge market of people who need our help.
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.