“Aging In Place Is Another One Of Life’s Decisions”

This older couple has made the decision to remain in place in their home of choice and no longer needs to be concerned about where they are going to age in place – a major life decision having already been made

As we journey through life, we have many issues to face, contend with, and resolve one way or another. Some are less complicated and consequential than others in the overall bigger or long-term picture, but we have thousands of decisions we need to consider and then resolve or finalize each day.

Sometimes the decision facing us is so consequential or potentially disruptive to our peace-of-mind that we put off making it until it has been made for us because the time for us to have acted has passed. A no-decision is still a decision. When we fail to make an actual decision that was ours to make in advance of the event, we take what we get as a result. Then we realize that we could have had things more to our liking (even if none of the choices were perfect for us) by making the decision for the other choice.

When we consider all of the many choices, options, alternatives, and opportunities we face throughout each day, it is staggering. They begin with many of the activities of daily living (ADLs), startting with what time to arise (maybe we get up at the same time every day, maybe not, but it is still a decision). Then, do we take a bath or shower when we get up or remember that we did that before going to bed? We need to choose the clothes to wear for the weather conditions and the planned activities for the day – formal or casual, seeing other people we know or maybe just being ourselves. Maybe we are staying home that day. Then there is how much effort to put into our grooming and what we want the end results to be.

Next is getting a cup of coffee and something to eat. Even getting a cup of coffee has choices involved. First, what flavor are we in the mood for, or which one (if just one or two) do we have on hand – mild, bold, light roast, dark roast, flavored? Do we brew coffee from grounds, and if so, how much do we make – a cup or several? Do we use a K-cup? Do we use freeze-dried or instant coffee and just add hot water? Do we skip the coffee at home and opt to get one at our favorite coffee shop on the way to where we are headed? If we have the coffee at home, do we drink it black or with cream or sugar or another sweetener, and how much do we add? Getting a cup of coffee in the morning seems like a fairly routine proposition, but look at the various steps that could be involved.

Do we have juice, toast, a bagel, fruit, a full breakfast, or skip it completely?

Then we get ourselves out the door and on our way to where we are headed. Is this a place we go every day or frequently, or do we need to use the GPS for directions? Even if it is a familiar trip, checking an app for delays and other traffic issues might be something that we would want to do. Oh, and we need to be mindful of our gauges – especially the one for fuel.

We could go on cataloging the many activities and choices that we face and resolve each day, but it should be apparent that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of decisions we make – from simple to more involved. For instance, if the service engine or oil pressure light comes on in the car as we are driving, do we immediately pull over and turn the car off, do we call someone (family member or mechanic) to discuss the situation with them, or do we keep driving with the thought that it likely is not an urgent situation? Decisions.

So, let’s think of housing as another one of life’s decisions that we all face. We and our clients may not think about it every day, but then again, it could be a frequent concern. Do we remain where we are (the focus of aging in place) and if we do, are there renovations or modifications that we need to employ in the near-term to make our homes more usable and safe? Are the longer-term or larger projects that we are considering? Is it more of a modernization and update to what we have now, or are there accessibility issues involved that are more pressing or urgent?

Regardless of where we or our clients are in making that long-term, aging in place housing decision, it will need to be made at some point. It is one of life’s decisions – one that is impactful and serious, but once it is made we can then get on with our lives and put the thoughts of where we want to live behind us.

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