So a person has reached that point in their lives when they are satisfied that they are living in the home they want to remain in for the balance of their days. This often happens in someone’s seventies or eighties but could happen as early as their thirties or forties – or any other age. The point is that aging in place is not a senior phenomenon nor should it be construed in such a limited way.
Aging in place begins at birth and continues for a lifetime. Most of us don’t remain living in the home we were born in or the first one we remember, but it does happen. Still, most of us will occupy a few different homes – rental or owned – before determining that the home, the location, the financial position, and our comfort level in where we are just works for us.
As we journey through life, living in various homes and apartments in the same city or in several different ones, we gain an idea of what type of residence we enjoy occupying. We learn to adapt to what we have. We ignore some of the items, features, or issues that bother us a little and focus on the bigger ones. If the issues are too numerous or large, we often move on to something else. At some point, however, even in the face of physical challenges the home presents to us, we decide that it has more going for it than against it and we make it our permanent or forever home – deciding then to put the effort and money into it to compensate for and correct the shortcomings it has.
Do we then decide to invest a large sum into the home and commit to a major renovation effort? We could, and many people do. However, we might decide to tackle a little bit at a time. After several episodes of such improvements and months or even years later, that home will resemble what we want and need in a continuing residence. Did it start out that way or did we search until we found the ideal home? Likely not. Still, it has become what we want.
The point is that we don’t have to find the perfect forever home at an early age that we feel will grow with us and be the one we want to remain in forever. We might be able to do this, but it might not happen either. Still, we can take any home that we find and make some modifications and improvements to it to make it more suited to our needs. At some point, we may discover that the home has everything we desire in a long-term residence and then commit to making the remaining changed needed to age in place well in it over time.
There are going to be some people who require more extensive modifications to their homes in order to remain in them – widening of doorways and hallways, for instance. Others may need to accommodate specific medical equipment that helps them with their daily needs. This is nothing special to aging in place but simply an accommodation of the home to one’s present (and perceived) needs. Again, it doesn’t need to be complicated or complex – just what is desired or called for at the moment.
We can choose to make our homes that we have selected and so designated as our forever homes into whatever we desire. This can mean extensive and often expensive improvements, but it can also mean minimal changes. It’s not the aging in place that is dictating how we want to approach our living environment but our desire to have an attractive and comfortable space that appeals to us. It can be simple renovations, updates, and improvements that we do over an extended period of time so that the budget for it is easily accommodated, or it can be more extensive. It can be as much as we desire it to be – or as little.
These are our homes, and we get to select how we want them to look and how soon. We can fast-track an update or take our time. We may never get around to all of the things we want to do because we are constantly discovering new products and ideas. Conversely, we may complete a major (or relatively minor) project that suffices for our needs and let it go at that. Each person is different and so is the way they approach their living environment and how it appeals to them.
To the extent that people need help in evaluating how to move forward with an update or renovation to remain in their homes of choice, or they need help in making it happen, we are available to assist them as aging in place specialists.