What is Aging in Place?
In a broad sense, it means the ability to stay in our homes as we age. When we take a deeper look at the needs of older adults, however, this definition must be expanded. For instance, things like access to reliable transportation, the physical layout of our homes, and the ability to easily receive medical care and go to the grocery store must be considered. Access to these types of resources within our community becomes critical to the sustainability to age in place. With this in mind, the meaning of aging in place changes to the ability to stay in both our homes and communities as we age.
And, we aren’t in this alone!
Thankfully, organizations like AARP have already started the process of raising awareness to local and state governments to plan and invest in the infrastructure that would promote an age-friendly community. And as they move the effort forward on a policy level, there are still things that we can and should do to ensure our own ability to stay in our homes and communities.
Why Choose to Age in Place?
- The Unwanted Mess and Stress of Moving: There are so many things that can change as we age and sometimes these changes can happen all at once. Adding a big move to the mix can be both stressful and unwelcomed.
- Save that Hard Earned Cash and Memories: Long term care facilities aren’t cheap! The entrance fee alone can be the price of a home. Budgeting for services on a needs base may be a more economically friendly way for consumers!
- Savor the Memories: Arguably, we spend a lifetime in our homes. There we can be surrounded by all of the wonderful memories we have collected over the years.
- It’s Familiar and Friendly: Not only do we already know the layout of our homes like the back of our hands, but we also probably know many of our neighbors! Who better to call when we are in a grind than our next door neighbors.
Things to Consider While Aging In Place
- Home Repairs and Maintenance: Regardless of whether or not you’ve paid off your mortgage, there are several expenses that you will have to budget to ensure that your home remains safe to live in. For instance, the roof, plumbing, and hot water heater or furnace are all necessary items that keep the home safe and functional. Consider having these things checked or replaced before retirement and add the repairs into your long-term budget for when they will need to be prepared again 10 or 15 years from then.
- Home Safety and Accessibility: The layout of a traditional style home in the US is not designed for the needs of an aging body. Safety measures and home adaptations may be needed over time as you age in place. Home safety prevention is an effective way to reduce falls and avoid unwanted hospitalizations that could later jeopardize your ability to age at home.Consider installing grab bars in the bathroom, and extra seating throughout the home. Also, assess the mobility in the home ensuring all of the carpets is flush with the floor, and heavy items are moved to lower shelves.