There are plenty of available homes in any given marketplace for people to look at and consider – new construction as we as previously owned and occupied ones. There are rental apartments also. However, this is irrelevant for a large segment of the population – of all ages – who are aging in place.
Aging in place may seem like a new concept, but it has existed for years. Many people in urban neighborhoods, suburbia, small towns, and farmsteads found a home and neighborhood that they liked, put down roots, and they remained there. They raised their families and stayed where they were, finding no need or inclination to change their address. Some people moved on to other homes, but many did not. This was aging in place, but we didn’t have a name for it then.
For those who moved to other areas – as their families grew, to be closer to other family members, or for employment opportunities – new construction appealed to them as a solution. They had several reasons for going in this direction, including the fact that the homes were new and never before occupied, that the homes came with many warranties – builder as well as manufacturers, that they got to select their features and colors, that their home may have a better chance of appreciation, and that it was located in a desirable neighborhood with recreational amenities and other natural features.
Others who decided to move to a new neighborhood or a different city preferred to rent – single-family homes or apartments. This may have been a short-term situation for them as they tried to save for an eventual down payment on a future home purchase, or they preferred the rental lifestyle that means not needing to be concerned about normal maintenance of their home or having the freedom of being able to move frequently without marketing their home first.
However, many people – arguably the largest group – is the one that is continuing to live where they are now. This is true regardless of their current age, family situation, age or size of their home, or how long they have lived in it. These people are aging in place and no longer need to concentrate on looking for or finding a new home. They have found their forever home.
Aging in place can be a conscious decision for people or one that just happens without them giving it that much thought, but the bottom line is that the overwhelming number of people want to remain in their current home. It may serve their needs perfectly as it is. It may be real close to what their ideal home needs to be. It might serve them even better with a little improvement or renovation. In some cases, it might need a lot of work, but the neighborhood, the size of their investment, and other factors make moving rather impractical for them. Besides, they really don’t want to move.
Many people simply cannot afford to replace what they have now – to get the same size home or layout for the money they spent on their current home. It would take considerably more to replace it, so they remain where they are.
Others – in fact, most people – have such an accumulation of stuff that has remained with them over the years that it makes the prospects of moving into another home seem quite tall. Some cannot part with what they have and don’t see moving it to another location as the answer to their space issues. Others know that it would take an inordinate amount of time to sort through and cull what they have. Better just to remain put.
So, whether the initial objective was to find a long-term home, or it just happened, aging in place is real. Those of us who provide services to people who want to remain in their homes – such as safety recommendations and makeovers, accessibility renovations to allow the occupants of the home and anyone who comes to visit them, room additions to facilitate better utilization of their property, new products and finishes within their home to increase their comfort or overall enjoyment, technology improvements, or general updates and modernization to kitchen and bath areas – there is a huge market who needs our help.
Going into the new year, we can take satisfaction from knowing that there are many people who want to stay in their current homes who could use a little help from us. Let’s be ready for their call.