Life is full of risks
There are no guarantees in life and few certainties other than getting older. Some people age with relative ease, and others encounter more serious challenges. Some people have those challenges much, if not all, of their entire lifetime.
Nevertheless, by the time a person gets to their sixties, for instance (pick an age range that suits you), much of what life has to throw at us will have been acknowledged and dealt with to the best of our ability. We may not have completely conquered it, but we will have figured out a way to get through it and come out the other side.
One thing we do know is that life has many twists, turns, and uncertainties in addition to the routine.
Planning for the challenges
As we go through life, with the knowledge that anything we are experiencing or will need to deal with is subject to change, we prepare as well as we can. We select a home at some point in our lives that seems to accommodate our physical and emotional needs well. We like the way it looks and how we can navigate its hallways or passageways, various rooms, and other spaces. It provides a measure of comfort for us and makes us feel happy and secure when we are at home.
If we didn’t choose our current home as wisely as we might have because we didn’t know many years ago what spaces and features we might need today, and we don’t feel like replacing our current home, we still have choices. We do not have to accept a home that is not cooperating with our lifestyle needs or physical abilities.
This is the essence of aging in place – accepting, modifying, and using the living spaces we have to provide the safest, most accessible use patterns.
Aging in place
Aging in place is simply remaining in one’s home of choice long-term, whether that home was acquired in their twenties or just recently and whether it is the only home they have ever owned (or possibly a generational home that was passed down to them) or the most current one in a succession of various homes they have owned over the years.
Most of us could not have known years ago what type of home would be comfortable and serviceable for us today, but by the same token, many of us chose of homes very wisely. The point is that regardless of how well our current home provides for our needs, now or as we perceive them to be in the coming years, we should do all that we can to enjoy our living space.
For many people, that means just doing general maintenance to keep the home looking nice and keeping unwanted guests (the crawly kind). We want our water lines, air conditioning and heating systems, windows, doors, and insulation to do the jobs they were created and installed to do. We want our appliances to continue serving us well although it is relatively simple to replace them one at a time. Is it true, or does it just seem that appliances are lasting longer than they used to before needing to be replaced?
Those golden years
Our later years are often referred to as the golden years. For aging in place, those years could and should be golden. We’ve already done all of the heavy lifting to get us to this point in life – the learning curves, the practical experiences, the trial-and-error encounters, education, child-rearing, career-building, and navigating the landscape of other work and family issues through the years.
By no means are the golden years a time for smooth sailing – is there ever such a time in life? However, we have a huge experience base from which to draw to help us face and deal with anything that comes along. We may not have all of the answers, but we likely can find a similar experience somewhere along the way that we have encountered or use our knowledge to help us deal with our current situation. Likely, we have neighbors, family, or service providers that we can contact to help us.
Regardless of how we define being a senior, for those who identify as being a senior or those who are accorded that status by others, it has definite benefits for the way we use our homes. We likely have become quite accustomed to how our homes accommodate our needs and the way we use the space and layout they provide. Anything that needs a tweak here or there, or a more serious renovation, likely can be done because of the equity position we have in our homes. In fact, many of us already have paid for our homes and own them outright.
As aging in place professionals, let’s help seniors enjoy their homes and how they use them. This should be a pleasant time for them so let’s do our part to make that happen.