As we go through life, there are many milestones, benchmarks, and important events that we look forward to attaining or accomplishing or to timestamp them as to when they occurred, and the easiest way to do this is with our chronological age or a coming birthday. When we are children, we look forward to starting school, being able to stay home alone without a babysitter while our parents run an errand or go to a party or meeting, or being able to play organized youth sports. This all relates to age – a physical number.
As we get older, we look forward to graduating from the under twelve category (“kids”) to being treated as a real person in restaurants, amusement parks, and other places we might go. Of course, there is nothing wrong with paying the lower price (especially from the parent’s perspective)- we just don’t like the idea of being different than our parents and older siblings at that age.
The next big milestone that we look forward to achieving is age sixteen – and in some cases fifteen. This means we can qualify to obtain a learner’s permit to drive and then obtain our driver’s license. This is a formal right of passage, even when people don’t have a car, don’t plan on getting one anytime soon, or live in a city where mass transit or taxis (Uber or Lyft also) are the preferred mode of transportation.
We anticipate graduating from high school and then college, being old enough to vote or have a drink in public, starting our first real job, and getting our first home or apartment on our own (even if it is roommates).
There are so many of life’s events that are tied to or measured by a certain age attainment. If not a specific age, we look forward to having passed a younger age at which such qualification is yet to come, such as starting a job, getting a residence, purchasing our first new car, or getting a credit card in our name.
Later in life, we attain ages that permit retirement from a company where we work, allow us to collect social security income, obtain Medicare insurance, and qualify for senior discounts from various merchants.
While aging is involved as we move from younger ages to older ones, the issue still is one of age – attaining certain ages and along on the continuum of life from birth onward. While age is the number, in years or partial years, where we find ourselves at various points in time as we move through life. Aging, on the other hand, is the cumulative process of attaining those various ages or birthdays.
Aging can be looked at as an enjoyable experience for those who are satisfied with their lives and what they have accomplished along the way, or it can be viewed just as the inevitable and somewhat unhappy process of getting older for those who may not be as happy with what they have accomplished or the direction of their life. Regardless, the aging process takes us through many life stages and present many challenges to be dealt with in one way or another – some of them life-altering or traumatic ones.
Through the attainment of various ages to mark our progression through life, and the general process of aging, which is the collective journey through those various ages from youth through adulthood and then to senior citizen status, we have been aging in place – some better and more successfully than others.
Aging in place is not something that happens to us such as turning a year older on our birthday but a lifestyle – a way of moving through life on our terms. Irrespective of any infirmities or limitations that someone might have, their current chronological age (as opposed to how old they might feel), their general physical strength and abilities, and their financial position, aging in place can be a very positive experience.
For anyone who would describe their particular aging in place process as less than positive – regardless of where they are in life and any situations or challenges they may be experiencing or dealing with – we have the opportunity to help them modify, improve, adapt, or renovate their living space so that their home allows them to experience life safely and comfortably.
People who describe aging in place in their current homes as pleasant still may benefit from some fine-tuning that we can offer to help gain even more enjoyment from their homes and to remain as safe as possible.
Everyone has an age that identifies where they are in life. Everyone is aging – getting older. Everyone is aging in place in the home they currently occupy. To this last point, our concern is how well they are relating to their homes and any assistance we might be able to provide to enhance their experience.