Traditional aging in place
When we think or speak of aging in place, we usually are referring to someone remaining in their dwelling that they have occupied for many years. At some point in the past (relatively recently or years or even decades ago), they purchased or rented their current dwelling – perhaps not fully appreciating at that earlier time how it would envelop their lifestyle and needs – and they have remained living in it ever since.
There is nothing written, prescribed, or codified that states anything about aging in place. It’s something we do, and we are free to do it in a dwelling that we find acceptable and comfortable for ourselves, even if it’s not perfect just yet.
So, traditional aging in place means that wherever we are living currently, and regardless of how long ago we moved into our present home, that we remain in it for the foreseeable future.
Changing homes as an option
While we think of and describe aging in place as continuing to remain in the home we have been occupying for years, there are other options available.
Some people come to the realization that their present home is just too much for them to maintain – too many floors or too much floor space to manage. They have an excess number of bedrooms for their needs – even accounting for visitors and hobbies – or they are spread out over multiple floors, including basements and attics. So they decide that moving into something more realistic for their needs is the most appropriate way for them to age in place as they start over.
Some people may find their current home in a state of general disrepair or in need of remedial maintenance. Rather than contend with the work that needs to be done in an older dwelling, they would rather find something easier to occupy and maintain going forward.
Others may find that moving in with family, regardless of who initiates the move, is a viable option for them. The ADU is available as an option or possible solution in such cases.
Regardless of which option someone selects – and there are many as we have noted briefly here – people want to age in place on their own terms. Moving into some type of senior housing arrangement may be what ultimately is recommended or decided, but this is not what we think of under the heading of aging in place. That literally means staying in our own home although technically aging in place occurs wherever we are living.
There are so many more options today than have been available previously, and that likely will only increase over time. Technology is providing many breakthroughs and applications. In the general area of home health and caregiving, there are so many more opportunities to help people remain in their homes without the need to consider a move or relocation.