That’s really quite a range of opinions and choices.
There also are people telling them that they can’t afford to age in place or that it isn’t practical and that they should give up on the idea.
We need to be careful that people aren’t intimidated into moving from their home or into spending a lot of money to remain at home thinking that these are their only options. They may choose to do so, but it is just a choice.
People can and do live quite successfully in their present homes without doing much to them, and they seem to get along well enough. Could it be better if they planned earlier for the time when they would actually decide to remain at home or find that they were doing it anyway? There are so many ways that a person’s home can be made safer for them and enable them to enjoy it more. Still, their homes largely may be relatively comfortable for them – at least from a familiarity standpoint. Many people are going to age in place with little fanfare and with no great expense in improving their home.
Does this mean that people shouldn’t think of making safety or accessibility improvements to their home or that such changes are ill-advised or unnecessary? Not at all – which is good news for us. Still, many modifications or tweaks to their dwelling can be made quite reasonably in terms of expenditures.
One of the reasons people remain in their homes long-term, in addition to genuinely liking their homes and where they are located, is that they can’t afford to replace them and move into another dwelling. Therefore, if we can help them for a modest amount to create a few safety improvements, we are going to feel good that we helped them to enjoy their homes for the duration, and they are going to get a home that is much kinder to them in their later years.
As much as we are standing by to help people make changes to their homes so they can age in place more safely and comfortably, many of them are prepared to do nothing. They will still age in place relatively well although our help would greatly enhance the chances that will avoid slips and falls on slippery flooring or objects that should not be in their passageways, that they can navigate their homes more easily with wider doorways, that they will be more comfortable due to better and more even lighting that eliminates shadows and glare, that cabinets and countertops will be easier to reach and use, and that controls will be at a more comfortable height and designed for a light touch to activate – among other improvements that we could make. Even getting in and out of their homes – with or without relying on some form of mobility assistance – can be much safer by improving walkways, reducing or eliminating steps, and creating larger landing areas.
There is so much that we can do, but for the people with smaller budgets, we should be prepared to help them (either ourselves or through people we can recommend if we typically are engaged in larger projects) so that their choice isn’t between spending more than they think they can or in doing nothing but continuing on with no changes. People should realize that they have several options available that align with many budget ranges.