We know that the majority of people want to continue living in the present homes as they age. This is what aging in place is all about and how the conversation in this direction got started. True, if someone moves from their current home to live with family members, to have a smaller place to take care of, or to live in some type of managed care facility, they would be aging in place from that point forward. What we are really talking about, however, is having people remain where they are – with no disruption in their lives caused by relocating to someplace else. The reason for them moving is not important,, and it might be quite valid. Nevertheless, true aging in place means staying in a home someone has lived in for a while and not moving from it.
Thus, helping people to achieve this aim of remaining in their homes (safely, comfortably, and functionally) is the key objective for us to accomplish as part of an overall aging in place strategy. We know that many people regard their home like an old friend – regardless of their age, the age of their home, how long they have lived in it, or how many people live with them in their home – and helping them retain that relationship with their home is important to them and to us.
That home represents so many memories to them of life events that have transpired within the home and in their lives while living there. They even have retained memories from an earlier time in their lives from the many keepsakes and mementos they have brought with them along the way. They have become very attached to their current home. They don’t welcome the thought of trying to replace that home or having to move from it – and they don’t need to. That’s where we come in.
No matter the physical condition of the home or any deficiencies or shortcomings it might have in being able to accommodate the physical needs of the residents (owners or renters), we know that people want to hang onto and remain living in their present homes for the foreseeable future. It’s this desire that we are using to help them. Whether they have consciously declared that this is their forever home, or they just have no intention of leaving it, it’s that underlying desire to remain living their (and not move) that is fueling their passion for remaining and giving us the impetus to help them. Desire, after all, is the first step to successful aging in place.
There are several reasons why people choose to remain in their homes, and any one of them is sufficient for us to begin helping them enjoy a safer, more comfortable, more convenient, and more secure home. People can be of any age or ability – and they don’t need to be seniors to qualify for our help. They have just decided – for one or more reasons – that they want to remain living in their current home. We have the ability to improve that home to make it as functional and as serviceable as their needs and budget allow.
Reasons that people can’t or don’t want to leave their current home – in addition to the fact that they have developed an emotional attachment to it – is that it going to be difficult to nearly impossible to replace that home financially. It would take substantially more money to find something comparable to that home in a neighborhood that they like.
In addition, people have a comfort level and feeling of well-being and security within the neighborhood where they are – including their neighbors, the nearby homes, the landmarks, the kids, and the dogs.
Another contributing factor in their decision to remain where they are is the realization that they have accumulated a lifetime of stuff that they would need to sort, organize, partially discard or donate, or move en masse to a new home. This actually is one of the biggest hurdles to moving and leads to many people deciding to remain where they are even when their home isn’t totally what they want.
We have a lot to offer in helping people evaluate their current home and offering professional expertise in suggesting and implementing improvements, in such areas as the traffic flow, floor plan layout (reallocating space, eliminating, or combining uses), the way the rooms are used, cabinetry, flooring, lighting, HVAC, appliances, and other aspects – inside and out.
Once we know that people are committed to remaining where they are, we have plenty to offer them to help make that a reality for them. Desire is the first step.