Aging in place is the default condition
Aging In Place is a natural event, and there are few boundaries. We either age in place where we are, or we go someplace else and age in place there. This is a simple concept.
The aim of aging in place, however, as we intend it and mean for it to be is that people remain in their home of choice and continue to be independent. This doesn’t always work, but that is the premise of aging in place, and it should be our objective.
No visible changes are required
To age in place, nothing needs to change – no modifications to our homes, no downsizing to a smaller dwelling unless that was going to happen anyway, no physical change in the place we live unless we had planned some renovations already, and no notifications to anyone of our intent – nothing at all just because we have decided to age in place in our current home.
Of course, we likely would want a few changes in our homes to facilitate long-term comfort, convenience, safety, and accessibility – the big four of aging in place considerations. However, none of these are sufficient conditions to being able to age in place. That happens regardless. As we live in a home long-term, we desire to make little changes – furniture, accessories, paint, art, or other little touches that we find appealing.
Even without changes to facilitate our longer-term well-being, aging in place is still happening. It’s just that we can make it better and more enjoyable
Aging in place happens
If no one told us anything about aging in place, if we had never heard of the concept, and even if the term was never created or used, people would still be aging in place. It’s a natural intuitive concept.
People have a comfortable familiar place to call home, and it makes more sense for them to get up each morning in the same setting than to uproot and reestablish themselves in a new location (especially as they acquire more and more stuff over the years) – with the learning of new routines and everything else that goes along with adjusting to new surroundings.
Since aging in place is a naturally occurring and desirable phenomenon, we have a major responsibility and challenge of helping people address their aging in place needs and desires in a positive way and help them to have a safe and enjoyable experience in their home of choice.
Aging in place is inevitable
Aging in place is going to happen for people whether we get involved or not. However, we are well-equipped to identify issues in a home that can and should be addressed and to have conversations with people about their needs.
This is definitely an exciting time – to help people live in and use their homes well over the long-term.