While aging in place can mean various things to different people, there is just one concept of aging in place that is foundational to the discussion – remaining in our current for as long as we can. Ideally, this means for the rest of our lives, and some people can achieve this goal. Our objective is to eliminate the barriers that would shorten that time period or cause people to consider other housing alternatives. We want to facilitate people’s ability to live the remainder of their lives in their present homes.
Our entire lives have been spent on our own in one form or another – being independent of thought and often action. When we were quite young and living in our parent’s homes, we likely had our own bedroom to ourselves, even if we had siblings (although some of us shared a room with a brother or sister, or more than one), and we had a say (some more than others) in how that room was decorated except for possibly the furnishings. We got to request the paint color (or in some cases paint the walls ourselves), arrange the furniture, hang our posters, set out our collectibles and items important to us, and keep the room as tidy or messy as we could stand or until our parents intervened and asked that things be put away.
Even if we had shared a room with a sibling, at some point our parents would have ensured that we had our own room – even if it was in the garage or the basement due to space limitations. Then at some point, we likely went on our own into the workforce, the military, or off to college.
During our college years, we have stayed at home and attended a Community College or found an apartment or dormitory room and lived there. When there were no roommates, we had total say in how the interior of our living space was furnished and decorated. This was our home for the next several months or possibly years (even after college), and we were going to make the most of it by creating comfortable surroundings that meant something to us.
As we have gone through life and gotten older, we may have occupied several different types of homes or apartments in multiple cities (with or without other people sharing the space with us). We were learning with each move what we liked or didn’t care for in a dwelling that might suit us longer term. Some of us may have found a home that appealed to us the very first time.
Regardless, we have taken that home or those various residences and put our mark on them as we have gone through life. we have painted the walls, installed wallpaper or other wall coverings, changed the flooring, added or changed out furniture, and made that home our own – whether we were the only occupant or we were sharing that with roommates, partners, a spouse, or a family.
We are now remaining in our homes considerably longer than was the case in previous decades. This is classic aging in place.