Happy 2019! The older we get, the faster the years seem to be clicking by – a little like driving at 70mph versus driving at 30. The miles go past more quickly at the higher speed. It’s not that we are going through life too fast and that we need to slow done – although that may be good advice – it’s just that the years do seem to pass rather quickly as we get older. Think back to our childhood or observe children anticipating a birthday, Christmas, or a special event. It seems to take a long time from their perspective for that day to arrive.
So, the new year is officially upon us. As much as some of us didn’t want it to come because we were enjoying ourselves in 2018 or we just had so many unfinished projects that we needed a little more time to work on them, we can’t do anything about it – there is no going backward. For those who are glad to have moved on with a blank slate in front of us on which to start over recording new memories and accomplishments, here’s the chance to do just that.
Helping people remain in their homes long-term is the key objective of aging in place and those of us who are dedicated to making this happen are happy that people are deciding in ever increasing numbers to stay put where they are in their current homes. It’s not just seniors either who are aging in place although they may be getting most of the media attention. While the over 55 age group, and certainly those over age 65 are aging in place in significant numbers, younger people are discovering the benefits of remaining where they are also.
We know that many people – regardless of how long they have occupied their current home or even what condition it is in or any types of improvements or renovations they may already have made – think of their home like an old friend. Getting to help 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. In fact, they just closed a chapter of their story at midnight, and new memories are beginning from today. They have become very attached to their current home and want to retain it and keep living in it. They don’t welcome the thought of trying to replace that home or having to pack up everything they own and move from it. That’s where we come in.
No matter the physical condition of someone’s home or any deficiencies or shortcomings it might have in being able to accommodate their physical needs or allow for easy and comfortable mobility in traversing the space or reaching items stored in cabinets or on shelves, we know that people want to hang onto and remain living in their present homes for the foreseeable future.
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. They can be any age or ability. 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 prescribe.
The first step in making that happen is an assessment, audit, or evaluation of both the physical condition of the living space as well as the functional needs or abilities of the occupants of the home. We are looking at how the home allows the residents to live in it and use it effectively. Any conditions that are inhibiting or restricting the use of the home by those living in it – even with no physical or sensory limitations – need to be called out for possible renovation. Then we add to that all of those features or characteristics of the home that are difficult to use because of the client’s abilities and needs.
Once this initial step is completed, we can counsel with the clients to determine how they want to proceed and how much work they would like to have done – from a little to everything we noted. Part of the determination is going to be budget-related, some will be governed by how much time it will take for the work to be done and what is considered reasonable by the client for being willing to wait to begin enjoying their improvements, whether it can be done in stages or prioritized by room or area of the home, and what it will mean if some of the work is left uncompleted.
Regardless, 2019 is going to give us plenty of opportunities for working with our clients to help them achieve the living space they need for remaining in their homes.