“Aging In Place Is Personal For Many Of Us”

The reason that aging in place is such a solid concept for many of us is that we have seen first-hand how it works – and we choose it over any of the alternatives. We want to be able to stay independent, living on our own or with family – regardless of our abilities or limitations – and we value the surroundings of our home and loved ones in continuing to allow us to do so.
We have seen life-impacting or life-changing illnesses, afflictions, or conditions and have witnessed how those can be managed in the home environment and still allow people to remain in their homes without having to be relocated to a facility or institution.
It could be ourselves that has is continuing to experience such challenges in having mobility or sensory limitations and issues. It could be our spouse. It could be a parent or a child. It might be a sibling. It could another family member – aunt, uncle, step-sibling or parent. It could be someone else that we are close to – a neighbor (current or former), coaches, teachers (ours or our children), church or club members.
The point is that aging in place is not some academic discussion that goes on in the classroom or that we casually hear about. It is real, and it is played out in the lives of most of us. The challenge is to make it more relevant and not just a loosely applied concept or strategy. 

Aging in place is personal. It affects us, and we care about it. We want people – ourselves and those we care about (including our clients) – to be able to remain in their homes as the years go by and to plan on being able to do this.

Those of us who have taken the Certified Aging In Place (CAPS) coursework identify strongly with the desire to age in place and see it in our loved ones, if not ourselves. We know that nearly everyone has some limitations, some lastlng very briefly, and some being chronic. They affect how we walk, stand, open doors and drawers, sit, bend, squat, and take care of our activities of daily living. When those limitations are short-term, we get over them and get back to our normal activities, but we have a new appreciation for how people need to adapt their lives to live with such limitations (or even more serious ones) on a long-term or daily basis. We can help envision, design, suggest, and create solutions to help them based on our own brief experiences with physical issues.

We know that adding or including such implements in a home as strategic safety bars (also known as grab bars, assists, or safety assists) to help people get in and out of the tub or shower safely, or using a permanent or folding seat to sit or rest once inside the tub or shower area are just a couple of ways that anyone can be helped to use their home more easily and enjoyably.

Being around family members or friends with various physical or sensory limitations (vision or hearing, for instance), or those living with progressive conditions, shows us how we can appeal to their needs and makes us much more effective aging in place specialists. It is personal to us because we have live alongside it and now can take our experience and knowledge and convey that to our clients as well.

As we engage our clients, we should let them know that we share a common bond with them – when this is the case – or use our knowledge to help them understand that while they may have no mobility issues – when this is true – there may be visitors entering their home or staying with them who will be glad that such modifications were completed.

Being able to relate to our clients and their needs because we have experienced loved ones or ourselves dealing with similar issues makes us a much more empathetic aging in place consultant for them, their needs, and their living environments.

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