As an aging in place professional, or for the consumer interested in remaining in their home, we might be wondering if there is a good type of home that is well-suited for aging in place.
While there are homes that are better designed (without any modification) for people to remain in them – particularly with physical limitations that might be present or that could occur in future years, wondering about the ideal home to have or specifically trying to look for it is not really what aging in place is all about.
Actually, the premise that there are certain homes that make aging-in-place better or easier than others is a trick question. The very concept of aging in place is that people get to remain living in the home they are in – regardless of how well suited that particular home is for their long-term needs. That’s where we come in as aging in place professionals.
There are homes that really don’t allow a lot of flexibility for people who are facing mobility challenges, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t continue to live in those homes. If they like those homes, like the neighborhood, have a vested interested – as well as a financial stake – in remaining in those homes, then that’s precisely what they should do.
We are charged with helping people who are committed to remaining in their homes, or who really have little economic choice but to do so, by suggesting and then creating solutions – subject to their budget and ability to fund the improvements through their own resources or ones we can identify and make available to them – that will provide the most safety, comfort, convenience, and accessibility possible for their needs.
Aging in place is about people remaining in their homes – their current homes – for as long as they desire. If they have the ability to seek and acquire another home to live in, they can be more selective in what it includes and offers for their remaining years. However, aging in place, as a concept, is not about finding a more suitable home and moving into it but rather making the most of the home people are in presently.
Therefore, any home is a good one for people to remain living in as long as it is safe or can be adapted to become so. Safety is the primary concern. Then comes the ability to enter, move about, and be comfortable using the living space.
Certainly, there are homes better able to accommodate their occupants over time than others, but our challenge is to determine how to make the other homes that are as well designed or equipped to function well also.