The fact is that we all are different, having grown up in different ways with varied personalities – even spouses, siblings, or identical twins. Everyone is where they are in life for entirely different reasons. Some meant to be where they are, and others are lucky to be where they are. Some didn’t have a clue they would end up where they are.
We like harmony in life – or at least we think we do. Most of us don’t like conflict, but having total harmony is not so desirable either. Someone once said, when talking about partnerships. that if both of them agree all of the time, one of them is unnecessary.
We all have had different life experiences which have taken us to where we are today – for better or worse, like it or not. Our challenge as aging in place professionals is to meet people where they are (and accept ourselves where we are at the same time) and help them adjust to the home they have now or make that home more desirable for them as they endeavor to remain in it.
For those who have not located their forever home as yet, there is still much that we can do to help them. Aging in place is not an age-driven or event-driven phenomenon. It’s generally not a journey that someone sets out on – to find their ideal home. It’s making the most – the very most – of our current living environment whatever our age, wherever we are living, and how many others might be sharing the space with us.
Everyone is different and approaches life differently – even if they grew up in the same household with the same parents. We have had our own friends, teachers, life experiences, work experiences, successes, disappointments, school experiences with band or sports, scouting or other youth activities, civic club memberships, and other day-to-day interactions with friends and strangers. In short, who we are today is the composite of myriad life experiences over the years that has helped to shape and mold us.
We have discovered our core values, principles, and ethics along the way, but they also have been affected in some ways – positively and not – by our experiences.
That lifetime of experiences acts as a filter for how we view and interpret life. What we want, what we expect, how we like to be treated, and how we treat and interact with others has been shaped in various ways by our experiences.
Where we grew up, who we associated with, hobbies we have now or ones we used to have but outgrew, clubs and organizations we have belonged to or still do, national or ethnic heritages we identify with or hold onto, business relationships we have, our general outlook on life, our health, and our general disposition all affect how we do life.
They affect how we view new ideas and possibilities that are presented to us – such as aging in place solutions. We may be content to remain in our present homes and accept them for what they are – even though they do not afford us the safety or room to move about easily that we would like. We may recognize that some improvements – whether we know how much they might cost and whether we might have that much money already set aside to accomplish them – would make our quality of life in our later years that much better.
There is no one solution that will apply to everyone, nor is there a typical solution that everyone will favor. After all, we have arrived at this point in time through vastly different paths. As aging in place professionals, we must appeal to people based on what they are willing to accept for themselves and what we believe is advantageous for them to have to accommodate their expressed and perceived needs.