People generally age in place in one of two major ways. They end up in a home that they didn’t particularly plan as their forever home by just by letting time pass – it just seems to happen. Conversely, they might make plans along the way – beginning years earlier – for them to have a home that meets their needs when they need it.
We’ve already looked at some of the ways and reasons people end up in a home that they didn’t particularly start out looking for as that special home. Now we’ll look at the other side of the equation – the people who have been intentional about finding their forever home, regardless of when they actually identified it or acquired it.
It doesn’t matter how many homes someone owns or lives in (including rental apartments and homes they live in with their parents as they are growing up), they begin forming a picture of what they like and works for them. Eventually, they find that forever home. In a few cases, that home is the family, generational home, such as a farmstead. It’s the home they grew up in and the one they will remain in although it may need some modifications along the way. They understand this and agree to it – at least intellectually.
Most people will live in several homes before finding the one that they want to remain in. However, it could be the first home they ever purchase. Maybe they found a great home for their needs and desires at that time and it grew well with them – accommodating the needs of any family that they raised in that home. Maybe they purchased it with the idea that they could (and actually did) perform several remodeling projects over the years, such as adding on rooms, a home office, additional bathrooms, or just reconfiguring the general layout and updating items like appliances, flooring, lighting, and cabinetry.
For those who live in many homes throughout their lifetime but are intentional about finding a home that will work for their retirement years, they become experienced in what they like. They learn which features and general home layout they prefer. They find out which homes and plans they don’t care for as they look for the homes they want to acquire and live in.
The point is that people begin focusing on what they think they will need in a future home as they move through life. The general layout, whether it is a one-level or multi-story home, how easy it might be to add features or modify existing ones, and how satisfied they would be living in that home forever if it came to that.
By being intentional in how they approach their house hunting and selection over their lifetime, people can be on the lookout for the home that just might be their forever home. In reality, any home they choose could be suitable for remaining in because they have approached looking for and finding one that could serve that purpose. Rather than just looking for a prestigious address or a particular layout that would meet their needs for that time of their life – to the relative exclusion of more longterm benefits – people who have been successful in finding the home they want to live in and remain in as their forever home didn’t just wake up and discover that their home didn’t really apply that well to what they needed.
That is the key difference between those who seek a home that will serve them well as a forever, aging-in-place, home and those who end up living in a home longterm who didn’t choose it with that in mind.