Aging in place takes on many forms
September Is recognized as National Healthy Aging Month and is a time for us to recognize that all of us are aging regardless of where we are in life or in what type of a dwelling. we may have. We might be living in the home of our dreams, or we may have a home that just keeps the weather off of us. Regardless, all of us are aging in place.
The challenge for us a Certified Aging In Place Specialists is to help people age in place in their desired or preferred dwelling and to do it as well as they would like. There is no standard of design or schedule of improvements to offer someone. It’s all personal preference – largely based on need, and secondarily, their budget.
People constantly are aging, and therefore are aging in place in their primary residence, regardless of its size, condition, age, design, or other characteristics – or if it is a single-family home, an apartment, a nursing home, assisted living, congregate care, or other type of facility living.
Dwellings vary tremendously for aging in place
In the most inclusive consideration of aging in place, the type, location, value, or condition of a dwelling space is immaterial. It can small or large, owned or rented, decades-old or brand new, single occupancy or group quarters – with a variety of features that work or need improvement.
Healthy aging implies that we are doing it well and that we can be safe in our space as time passes. not everyone is able to live in a safe dry convenience space, but that should be our objective. as we meet and see people throughout the world who are living, and therefore aging, in a dwelling that does not afford them a safe, convenient, comfortable, and accessible space should spark in us a response.
we need to be committed to addressing – to the extent possible – inconsistencies and inadequacies in the dwellings that people have. Of course, we cannot show up and make changes to people’s homes without having been invited to help them, and in most cases, we don’t work for free.
that said, there is a tremendous albeit overwhelming opportunity to help people around the world as they are remaining in their homes and growing older. aging in place does not suppose that a person has a particular type of dwelling or that it allows for any type of access or comfort. Some do more than others. this is where we come in.
Our role in helping people
As we focus this month on healthy aging, let’s be reminded of the influence we have on helping people to remain safe in their dwellings, whatever they have chosen for themselves and whether they have made a conscious decision to age in place or are just continuing to live in their present homes without giving much thought about this being their long-term home. Generally, it is in such cases.
Some people are going to be more aware of what might be useful to have in their homes to facilitate easier navigation of their space or to be able to see better, while others may not have a grasp of how the living space can be improved.
Regardless, we have a major role to play in meeting with and counseling people on how they can move forward with a safer, easier to use home. We can discuss budget and evaluate items that might need to be repaired, replaced, added, or adjusted.
As we use this month to celebrate healthy aging – coincidentally National Falls Prevention Month as well – it allows us to focus on the many ways that people can and need to feel safe and unchallenged inside their homes. This extends to the immediate area around their homes also – porches, landing, entrances, decks, and of course their yard space.
Of course, falls are a serious challenge to how well people can age and remain in their homes. Anything we can do to help people avoid or minimize the impact of the trips, stumbles, loss of balance, and falls that are bound to happen, the more satisfying their aging in place experience is going to be.
As we celebrate healthy aging month, let’s focus on all of the safety and access concerns that people face in their homes where we can make a difference and enhance their lifestyles. This is a significant challenge and opportunity that we can embrace.