While it’s true that some people have not located their forever home yet, so many people have done so – even if they have not formally declared it or admitted it to themselves. Finding a forever, long-term, permanent, lifetime, or ageless home that is our residence for the remainder of our days – however long that might be, and hopefully quite a long time – does not require anything formal. There is no declaration to file with the local authorities that establishes this. There is no form or schedule on our tax return. There is no special application or consideration for our property taxes. There just is no written statement of any kind that is required, necessary, or available. It just doesn’t exist.
Similarly, we don’t need to publish our decision on Facebook, by taking out a classified ad in the paper, or by using any other public forum. Most of us will be aware that we are committed to remaining in our homes long-term, but it may not even be a decision we are conscious of having made.
That’s fine. We don’t need anyone to be notified of our intentions – except perhaps our family and close friends. This is a personal, private decision but one that we are quite comfortable in making. We just need to decide – declaratively by revealing our intentions to age in place in the home that we are happy remaining in aloud to the members of our household or close family members or passively by just continuing to remain in our homes without doing anything specifically to reveal our intentions. In the latter case, we may not ever formally decide to age in place. We just don’t decide to move either.
The passive decision is more of a procrastination or status quo situation where someone we never get around to doing anything about looking for or choosing another home for ourselves and one day it occurs to us that we are too old, or it’s too complicated in terms of the amount of stuff we would need to move, to even consider the possibility of going elsewhere. SO we remain. This is defacto aging in place – staying where we are forever because we never did anything about choosing anything different for ourselves.
Whether the decision is active or passive, formal or much less so, the end result is the same. We are staying in our long-term or forever home. This is pure aging in place the way it is intended to be. The quality of that lifestyle can be enhanced depending on what someone chooses to do to improve the overall conditions and features of their home, but whether they do or not, the forever home will have been selected. Sometimes, people won’t even be aware that they have so selected their home. There just aren’t doing anything about moving, and someday it will be too late to move anyway – even if that was something they once entertained as an idea.
One thing that is not part of the aging in place scenario, in its truest or strictest form, is selecting a new home (new construction, existing home, apartment, or senior living facility or some type) to occupy or moving in with family – although this last option is preferable to any of the others. True aging in place is remaining in one’s present home for the duration.
If this is the case, then why can’t someone choose a new home and then remain in it forever and age in place there? The short answer is that they can. The obvious answer is that this is bending the intent. It’s true that we age in place wherever we are living – from at home with our parents at a very early age, to our college dormitory room or first apartment, to the first home of our home (alone or with people to share it with us), to our current residence. However, it is not necessary to leave our current home in search of new quarters. In fact, it is demanded of us that we remain where we are if we want to embody the spirit of aging in place. That says that we remain where we are without the necessity of moving from it – and all that this entails in the process.
While we are free to consider other possibilities of a home for ourselves by watching home renovation and relocation shows on television, visiting open houses and model homes in our community, and surfing the internet looking at real estate and home furnishings to see what is available, to check out new decorating ideas and styles, and to reinforce our decision that our home still remains the best choice for us and our needs, we won’t be acting upon any of those visits or impulses. Our decision as to where to live on a going-forward basis has been made, whether recently or years ago. We don’t need to move, and we don’t want to either. It’s that simple.