When people first hear about aging in place – especially those who are not at the age when they consider aging in place to officially begin – they are put off by the name, term, or description. After all, who wants to age? Actually, many people do. That’s why the entire movement is so widespread and so successful.
All of us are aging. We may not prefer to think about getting older, but we are. Age may signal loss of youth and youthful pursuits such as being able to run quickly or play various sports. It may mean diminished eyesight and other senses. It might suggest arthritis, white hair (or possibly no hair), and other outward signs that we associate with getting older.
Nevertheless, we are powerless to stop the advance of time. So, we must embrace it and do our best to deal with it. More than coping, and even more than acceptance, aging in place is an assertive posture that we are ready for this and looking forward to it.
Aging in place? Absolutely. We are thrilled to be able to live in a home we enjoy and in a setting we like. If our home doesn’t quite measure up to what we need or what we expected, then we can employ some universal design measures and other renovation strategies.
Let’s get past this idea that aging is not good or that somehow we have to sugarcoat or rename it to avoid the subject of aging – we really don’t have much of a choice except to get older as the days pass. We need to wholeheartedly and enthusiastically embrace it and get on with the process of living – living life to the fullest extent possible in the homes we have.
We don’t need to be in denial. We need to be in full throttle expectancy of the great days that lie ahead – even if we and the ones we serve are facing physical challenges and discomfort. Our role is to help people – including ourselves – live in a safe home that is as comfortable and accessible as it can be based on what we have to start with and how much money we can contribute to any desired improvements so that we have a very pleasant aging-in-place experience in a very familiar environment that we like.
There may still be some people who aren’t onboard with the idea of aging – forever proclaiming their youthfulness – but we have the tools, strategies, and tactics to adapt living spaces into very comfortable and convenient homes that will serve us well as we get older. Aging, and especially aging in place, can be meaningful and enjoyable.