Aging in place should be a carefully considered decision that once made casts aside all doubt, worry, and concern. It removes anxiety about the future in terms of housing opportunities or where someone should be living. It should provide comfort to people as they remain in their homes because one of life’s basis and essential requirements – housing or shelter – will have been decided and put to rest.
Before people reach that point in their lives – and this happens at widely different times from very early in life to much later – when they know which how they want to claim and recognize as their forever property, they are searching. Consider this much like a dating relationship where people are testing homes (like boyfriends or girlfriends) to see where a good fit happens to be. There is no magic time or age by which this needs to happen. Some people may never achieve this while others can be born into a family or generational home that they remain in throughout their lifetimes.
Being unsettled or anxious is not a pleasant or desirable feeling. It has an emotional impact on our lives and can evene=tually lead to physical issues as well. We don’t need this and should do all that we can to avoid or eliminate stress and anxiety from our lives – especially over issues that we can control. Where we live is one such issue.
As we leave home in our teenage, early-twenties, or even later years in life to begin living on our own – with a partner or roommate or not – we may not have a clear idea of what we want in terms of a dwelling, where we want it, what features it should have , or other characteristics about it. Often we pick the first one that is reasonably priced that we feel we can afford. We are less picky about the other details.
Then, we begin the process of selection. We start out looking for something else more to out liking that can serve us for many years if not indefinitely – if we feel that we are going to remain living in that area or community. Otherwise, that process will be delayed until we arrive at a future destination.
Each person or family unit has different requirements than the next, and what they seek applies just to them – although others might identify just as well with the same situation. They require a home layout, room and space configuration, general location, roadway access, condition of the property, and overall appeal and attractiveness that works for them. Depending on how long and well they search for this ideal home, they may find their forever home early in the process and be set for life. Others are going to go through far more choices and individual moves before settling on that home that is meant for them to occupy long-term.
In selecting a home, it’s hard to know what types of curves live may have in store for us. We have to be a little interpretative here. We need to look at a space and determine that if our abilities, or those of others living there with us, were to change dramatically (less ability or inability to use the stairs to go between levels or enter the home, for instance), what modification or adjustments could be made? We won’t necessarily need to make these accommodations, but if we don’t at least consider the possibilities that such changes might be required and look to see where they would go and how they could be done, we could be faced with a huge surprise down the road that will complicate our ability to remain in the home and create anxiety where there doesn’t need to be any.
Whether we are able to do this ourselves or among the members of our immediate or extended family, or if we can utilize the services of counselors such as occupational therapists, social workers, or gerontologists – or certified aging in place specialist designers, consultants, or contractors – to help us come to terms with what we are facing in terms of utilizing our space and making sure that the home can accommodate the needs as they have changed or are evolving, anxiety on how this how will continue to work for its occupants could ensue. We want to avoid this.
As we age and as we have various health concerns and adjustments to make in our physical performance based on sensory changes that happen just through the normal aging process, irrespective of any other illnesses or conditions we might be facing, life is anxious enough for us. We don’t need to add to any worries by adding in concerns about our homes. This is one area where we can remain confident – because we have chosen wisely for ourselves earlier on or because we know that the changes we require can be accomplished to allow us to continue occupying and enjoying our homes.