Combating the virus sent us indoors
Many of us have gotten a preview of our retirement years for what it’s going to be like to remain at home much of the day and age in place there – whether we actually would stay at home the majority of the time. However, the recent virus outbreak has caused many of us to remain at home full-time and to reacquaint ourselves with our homes and our families. Some of us have gotten to know our neighbors a little better as well, albeit through facial masks and appropriate social distancing.
This has been a trial aging in place situation where people have gotten to know their homes and the people occupying their space with them quite a bit better – and hopefully with a great outcome. While aging in place is an ongoing event that is not limited to seniors or retirement, many people have gotten the opportunity to experience what it is like to be at home much of the time and to determine how well their homes provide for them.
Finding out that we like our homes
Many people have discovered that they really like their homes. Possibly they had felt this way before but not in a way that comes from being at home for so much of the time. They may have purchased their home thinking that they would enjoy spending much of their time at home without realizing that such a time had come.
As we look back to where we have come and look ahead as well, people have experienced their homes in a new way – perhaps seeing things their homes had to offer them for the first time. They are beginning to appreciate how their homes can serve their needs long-term. This really is the key to successful aging in place – being able to stay in the same home forever.
Maybe it took an event such as we’ve just experienced for people to understand what their homes have to offer and to begin to appreciate how well-suited their homes were for their day-to-day living when the workplace and activities outside the home were not factors. People have had the opportunity to discover their homes in a new light – as a new friend rather than just a structure from which to come and go and stay overnight.
Understanding what our homes mean to us
If we have the home that works for us, great. However, as friends or our children ask for our help in finding a long-term home for themselves that they can enjoy over the years – whether we are ever involved in another long-term forced occupancy as we’ve just experienced – let’s remember and call upon all of the things our homes have provided us that has made the transition to staying at home more enjoyable and comfortable for us.
In addition to comfort and enjoyment, our homes need to provide a measure of safety, convenience, and access throughout the home. To the extent that our homes can provide these five major attributes (comfort, convenience, safety, access, and enjoyment), we are going to find living in our home to be something quite pleasant and doable. Much the same as other long-term relationships, we may have some minor issues, or even disagreements, with our homes, but generally, they provide the stability and peace-of-mind that we seek.
While many of us may not have selected our present homes with the idea that we could live in them for the balance of our lives – or that we would even want to do so – we chose them for a variety of reasons, including how well we felt at ease within them. Over time, many of us became good friends with our homes and determined that they really could provide for our emotional and physical security. This is why the mandated long-term but temporary, around the clock occupancy has allowed us to really get to know our homes. We have discovered just how good of a job we did in selecting our homes initially and how well, in general, they are able to meet our needs.
Our homes have passed a crucial test
We may not desire or need to stay in our homes on an around the clock basis going forward, but now we know that as long as we are well-provisioned in terms of foodstuffs, paper products, and cleaning supplies, that our homes are going to serve us quite well whether we are able to leave them or not. Some of us might be able to go to the store, take a walk, or use our outdoor space in the yard around the home, and some of us may not be as able to go outside. Nevertheless, we have found, and are continuing to find, that our homes measure up quite well to our needs and what we expect from them.
The next time we have an opportunity to make some minor improvements to our homes in terms of applying paint, putting up some shelves, or making minor adjustments, we now have a great understanding of how to approach it and what are end-game should look like.
Staying at home has been great practice for us for that time in our lives when we might not be leaving daily or several times a week to go to the workplace or when other circumstances (such as a virus outbreak, other public health issue, or even personal or family illness) suggest that we need to remain at home.