“People May First Buy A Home To Live In But Then They Decide To Age In Place There”

Often we purchase something like a residence, we do so because we need a place to live. We may do a lot of research first, engage a real estate agent to help us locate something, or just get something because it looks attractive, is an area we find desirable, and is priced right for our budget. Price may have more to do with a purchasing decision – at least early in life – than other factors. Also, we may buy something just to be able to stop looking and start living in our new home.

We hope that we will like our new home, but we will need a little time to make this determination, Initially, whether it’s new construction or one that’s been occupied previously, it is a building when we look at and decide to purchase it. It will take some time to learn how well we like it and if the personality of the home and what we need from it are a good fit. It definitely will have some physical characteristics that we find desirable, and it may suggest a certain personality that we hope will be to our liking, but the home starts out as just a  building as we initially walk through it, size it up, determine how it might meet our needs, and decide that we want to acquire it.

Then, we move into what we have purchased. It’s still a house at this point, but it’s one step closer to becoming a home. The builder’s representative and likely the builder as well (if we purchased a new home from a builder), the real estate agent or Realtor that showed us this home (the new home or a pre-existing home) and likely several others to consider as well, and the existing owners of the home if it wasn’t new construction (that they were selling themselves or that they had listed with an agent) each tried to describe the house that we were considering as a home, but it couldn’t actually be a home – our home – until we moved into it and began to assimilate with it and allow our personalities to mix and hopefully mesh.

It might have been that very first day as we were moving in – “love at first sight” – or it could have taken a couple days, weeks, or a longer period of time of adjustment, but that house – that four walls with a roof – became our home. We would no longer refer to it in the impersonal sense as just a product that we had purchased – a house, We would call it our home, having made the transition from the inanimate “house” to something that now was a part of our lives.

We would see our new home as a place where our lives would begin to unfold and happen for the foreseeable future – a place where we would have many memories, hopefully good ones, and where we would look back at some point in the future at the decision we had made to take a chance on this home.

In general, people don’t get too excited about looking at and then finding a “house” – a structure – that they might want to purchase and occupy. However, we can quickly become quite attached to our new “home” when it becomes more than just a house.  When we make the transition from thinking of it as a house to having it become our home – regardless of whether this is our first home or our last one, and irrespective of the size, price, location, or specific features and layout it offers – the emotional attachment begins.

The stronger that attachment and the bond that develops with us and our home – and anyone else such as our potential clients who find themselves in a similar position – the more we are inclined to continue living in it. Why turn our back on something that has given us pleasure and become an additional member of the family? We have a history together. We may need to make some improvements over time – as our needs change and features of our home need to be updated, but that we are accustomed to that as aging in place professionals.

As remodelers, designers, OTs, consultants, case managers, architects, and so many others who can help people who want to remain in their present homes envision those living spaces as more functional for them and then help to turn that vision into a finished result, we have a vital role to play. We have a responsibility to our clients to respect the home they have chosen and to help them get the most safety, comfort, and enjoyment out of their home as possible so they can remain in it and not have to be concerned with leaving it.

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