Major milestones in life
There are so many milestones in life that we anticipate and look forward to attaining – mostly based on age. When we are young children we want to be old enough to go to school. We want to be old enough to order off the adult menu. We want to be old enough to play in various youth sports leagues (depending on the sport). Of course, we want that driver’s license – the major coming of age symbol that we cherish.
We want to be old enough to vote, to start college or join the military. And along the way, they are several other age qualifying activities that we look forward to joining, participating in, or having. Somewhere along the continuum comes that first senior discount.
Nowhere, however, do we see that there is the necessity to register with any agency or official body that we intend to age in place – or that we don’t. It doesn’t exist.
Therefore, anyone can, and typically does, age in place whether it is a conscious decision or not.
A conscious decision is not required
Aging in place is as much a state of mind as it is a fact. We feel comfortable in our chosen home and like what we experience. We have no intention of looking for or finding another place to live because we like what we have. It makes us feel good about the passing months and years.
Unlike so many other milestones in life that require specific decisions or actions, aging in place does not. Deciding where to attend college, applying for and getting accepted there, applying and interviewing for that first professional position (or moving on to another opportunity), selecting that first car that was more than just transportation, finding the first home, or starting a retirement savings account are decisions in life that require planning and action. There are many other lifestyle and family decisions that we face as well.
However, nowhere do we see that we must decide on the home we want to live in longterm by a certain age – say 35, 50, or 65, or within a certain deadline after moving into it. In fact, a conscious decision is never required. That doesn’t mean there has been no decision – just not one that is shared with others or posted on social media. It may be a more quiet conclusion or one not really discussed or shared with others. Still, the decision to age in place – formal or not, shared with others or not – will have been made at some point along the way.
Life pretty much as normal
Whether a decision to age in place is formally mad or just kind of casually or informally acknowledged, life continues without interruption. No one sends us congratulations cards. We are not invited to join any support groups in person or online for those who are aging in place. We don’t suddenly start receiving mail (email or traditional printed material) about making design, furniture, kitchen, bath, or other choices to age in place – other than what we get normally from such companies that are looking for people to use their products.
We don’t start receiving phone calls congratulating us on our decision and wanting to set appointments to discuss our decision and how we move forward with it.
Nothing really changes, whether or decision is formal and shared with others or it’s quiet and not shared. Life goes on as it has with whatever challenges or concerns we had been facing. It’s life as normal – or as normal as it is for each of us individually.
To decide or not
Making a format decision that we have found our long-term home and that we think that it will serve us well the remainder of our lives is fine. Not making such an announcement is fine as well.
It’s not whether we announce any such decision to anyone, and there certainly is no paperwork to complete or notices to file with any official body. It’s not even whether we can point to a day when we knew that our present home was the one for us to remain in and that we wouldn’t be looking at other homes to occupy except perhaps to see decorating and furnishing ideas.
Aging in place happens. We can’t stop it; however, we can take an active participation role and guide our ultimate outcome as much as we like. Aging in place can be a very positive experience.