Just because someone doesn’t know the name of a ball-pein hammer or some other tool or implement, for instance, doesn’t mean that they can’t use it to drive a nail or shape something. Often, names and terms of items or concepts are for our convenience, and many are industry terms. Nevertheless, aging in place as a concept and a phrase goes well beyond our usage of it and extends to the general marketplace – even for those who may not be familiar with the exact term.
There are plenty of ways for consumers to hear about aging in place because many professional organizations (AIA – American Institute of Architects, AOTA – American Occupational Therapy Association, APTA – American Physical Therapy Association, NKBA – National Kitchen & Bath Association, ASID – American Society of Interior Designers, AIBD – American Institute of Building Designers, and others, in addition to NAHB – National Association of Home Builders and AARP) use this term and frequently tell the marketplace about it. It’s common now for consumers to request that CAPS professionals help them and are asking if someone is CAPS trained when they make their initial phone call to discuss services.
Still, in the most recent Aging In Place Survey conducted by Home Advisor (2017), they report that just 43 percent of participants aged 55 to 75 (less than half of those surveyed) and a little more than half (52 percent) over those over the age of 75 said that they were familiar with the term aging in place when it was posed to them.
They may know what the term embodies, and quite likely they are doing what the name suggests anyway, they just are not identifying with it because they have not seen the need to identify with a label.
There are some people who have not admitted to themselves or others that they plan to remain in their current home and age in place, but they have no plans to change anything about their residence either. They are quietly aging in place and likely are unaware of we would term what they are doing.
The bottom line is that people want to age in place and are doing so at an ever-increasing number, whether they know that there is an “official” name for what they are doing or not. They just know that they want to remain in their current home and are committed to doing so over the long haul.
Aging in place is a healthy endeavor for people as they get older, but it’s not limited just to seniors as many people might think by hearing the name. People at any age can and should benefit from having a safe, comfortable, convenient, and accessible dwelling to live in and occupy, whether they are living at home with their parents (at any age), they have an apartment, they are raising a family, or it’s just them (with or without a partner).
We really are more interested in helping people to achieve aging in place solutions than in having them know that there is a name for what they are doing. If they are aware of the term, that’s fine. If not, it’s OK as well. The important thing is that we get to help as many people as we can to achieve a productive and effective lifestyle in their homes as they grow older.