Ever wonder when “aging in place” or an aging in place emphasis actually begins. Is there a certain age for people when thoughts of aging in place become more important than at an earlier time in their lives? Is there something that needs to happen first?
The interesting thing about aging in place is that it is not age- or event-driven. There is no certain age that someone attains – 30, 40, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70 – where aging in place suddenly becomes important or where one moves into that category.
While older people may be more concerned with maintaining the homes they are in right now and in making those homes safer, more comfortable, and more accessible for themselves and people who call upon or visit them, there is nothing in terms of age or any other event that happens that designates them as part of the aging in place market. There is no notification from any of their insurance companies, and no government agency contacts them to inform them of this fact.
Thus, aging in place is an outlook or strategy rather than a specific place or station in life that one attains.
Even when someone contracts a life-changing illness or disease, or when they suffer a traumatic injury at some point in their life, these events do not mean that they suddenly transition into the aging-in-place market. Life events and passing years may cause someone to focus more on the quality of their current home and how well it is able to meet their needs, but it doesn’t mean that someone who wasn’t part of the aging-in-place discussion now is included.
In fact, from a very early age, everyone is part of the aging in place emphasis. There is no escaping it or separating oneself from the discussion. People might be impacted by ailments directly in their childhood, they might witness their parents and grandparents dealing with aging or illness issues, they could experience neighbors and family friends working with aging issues, or they might become aware of aging-in-place issues through messages they see or read.
As aging in place professionals and consumers, we need to think of comprehensive ways that we and others can enjoy the homes they are in throughout their lifetime and strive to make those living spaces safe, comfortable, and accessible through their initial design or modifications to existing floor plans. Aging is a lifelong pursuit and so is providing the means for people to live well in their homes and apartments during that journey.