It’s not always an obvious decision
Deciding to remain in one’s home long-term and to age in place is not always a conscious, deliberate choice. Sometimes, arguably even more frequently, it just happens.
Making a decision to age in place is not something that a person has on their “to-do” list as something they need to take care of this week. In addition to going to the store, taking out the trash, sweeping the walk, cutting the grass, doing the laundry, and everything else we typically do during the week, choosing to remain in place is generally not part of that list. Rather, it is less formal or it just happens.
When we find the home that works for us, that we enjoy living in, and that we don’t see any need to move from, it has become our aging in place, forever, long-term, permanent home whether we announce this to anyone else or not.
It’s still a decision even if it’s not a proclamation
There’s an expression that no decision is still a decision. That’s certainly the case here where remaining in one’s home even when it may not be totally accessible, safe, or convenient. It’s still a decision to remain and age in place long-term.
It would be nice, on the one hand, if there was a declaration or afffadavit to be completed and filed with some official body designating a desire to remain in one’s home as they age in place. Of course, that is not the case, and we really don’t need anything like this.
We age in place out of convenience or out of the desire to stay in our home of choice because it offers many benefits to us. We love the locations, we like the neighborhood, we like the general layout (the rooms that we have and the way we use the rooms), the coming and going from and within our space that we enjoy, the ability to go for walks in the neighborhood, our neighbors, and the ability to get outside and enjoy ourselves.
Staying put makes sense financially and emotionally
We have a financial stake in our long-term home knowing that it would be nearly impossible to replace it anywhere else for close to what we’ve invested in it, and quite likely the taxes or the association fees would be considerably higher. This doesn’t count the equity we’d be giving up to move. In some cases, the home has been paid off so it would mean incurring a new mortgage (and a monthly commitment) if the amount realized from a sale would not totally pay for a new dwelling.
Of course, by living anywhere for a period of time even a several day stay at a resort or hotel we begin to collect items such as clothing, keepsakes, and mementos of that particular stay or occasion. Multiply this times the number of months, years, or decades that we have been in our current home and it’s easy to see how large our collection of items can become. We’re talking outdated clothing items that are too large or too small (not to mention those that might need to be repaired or mending), sporting goods that we no longer use or that are out of date, obsolete computer equipment that has been replaced with more modern technology, foodstuffs that are expired, souvenirs from vacations, concerts sporting events, and other activities we’ve attended and enjoyed over the years, photographs of family and places, and so much more.
We tend to be creatures of habit and are reluctant to break the inertia of what holds us to our current location. It’s so comfortable to come and go every day – whether we have a job that takes us away from the home or we remain at home (possibly more recently with the virus response) – it’s still difficult to be uprooted and ask us to live someplace else.
Aging in place is relatively easy to begin
The easiest course of action for us to accomplish to age in place is to remain where we are. In most cases, people do not make a formal decision or declaration to continue living in their current home. They just do it – without interruption. We just like the idea of remaining where we are better than the thoughts of finding another place to occupy, packing up everything we own, and then moving down the street, across town, or across the country.
People tend to remain in place because they want to in many cases, but also it’s the easiest thing to do.
Maybe there was a formal declarative decision to age in place, and maybe there wasn’t. Maybe we haven’t even admitted it to ourselves, but we act as if we had. Regardless, the end result is the same.