Getting ready to get ready
Many people are concerned about remaining in their homes long-term, and they want to make sure they are ready to age in place well. They wonder what is required to make this happen and at what age they should begin thinking about or preparing to transition into an aging in place mode.
That’s a fair question – at what age should people begin thinking about aging in place or actually begin to do so? Actually, it’s a trick question.
We in essence are getting ready to get ready. We have been aging in place our entire lives – likely without giving it much thought. That said, there is no right or wrong age to begin because we have begun even if we weren’t prepared to do so.
Aging in place does not require a conscious decision
While there are those who think that aging in place applies just to seniors (at various age thresholds since the term senior has no specific definition) or that it requires a conscious decision about staying in one’s home, neither is true.
We begin aging in place from the moment we are born although we aren’t aware of it or have any say in how our surroundings have been selected for us. As we get to a point in life – it could be relatively early (say one’s twenties or thirties) or much later (fifties or sixties) – where we realize that we like the home we have, where it is located, and how it generally provides for us and allows us to enjoy our lifestyle.
We can go home or apartment shopping expressly to find our forever home, or we may just decide that the home we have is the one we want to keep.
Aging in place is as much lifestyle as decision
While many people do, at some point (some earlier in life than others), find the home they want to stay in with no thoughts of moving from it into something else, others just keep living in their present home without a clear decision that this is their forever home. It’s just that they don’t decide that it isn’t either. There is no decision except to keep taking each day as it comes – along with remaining in their present home, Soon, a few days turn into months and then years.
Just continuing to like where they live and how it continues to accommodate their lifestyle – even if it is not perfect by their standards – means that people often make an undeclared decision about aging in place. Their actions say more than their words.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, aging in place does not need to be a declaration – a conscious decision. Whether someone announces to themselves, their family, and others that they have found their forever home and are remaining in it, or they don’t particularly say anything about their intentions but continue living as if they have decided to remain in their home long-term, the results are the same.
The right age to get started
So, what is the right age to begin thinking about staying in the home of choice and not looking for anything else to replace it? There is no specific answer. This could be someone’s first home, or they could have owned several along the way. They might be in their twenties or their eighties. The point is that wherever they are in life, now is an OK time to decide to age in place if they like their home. After all, they are aging in place anyway where they are. It’s just that people should really feel that they like their home or that it meets their needs relatively well.
There is no set age or date that someone can put on their calendar where they need to make a decision about their home. They will know that they have found their long-term home when it happens, whether they announce it to anyone else or not.
So the right age to get started is now, and the right time is last week, next week, or today. It does not require any formality or fanfare.