Aging In Place: When Will You Make The Necessary Changes?

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Aging In Place: When Will You Make The Necessary Changes?

Too few adults give thought to the concept of aging in place. Learn why it’s something your can’t ignore and why it’s nothing to fear.

How prepared are you for aging in place?  It’s a topic most adults approach with great reluctance. Aging in general is an unpleasant topic for obvious reasons. However, especially in the boomer age group, aging should not be some scary thing. The boomer generation has proven your second-act can be the most rewarding. Embracing aging is not admitting some defeat, but allowing yourself to prepare for comfort and happiness in your later years.  Among those very necessary changes is the concept of aging in place. The term refers to, as defined by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”. In other words, how suitable will your current home be once your needs change?

Don’t avoid it.

Housing is another one of those stressful topics. Whether you’re buying or selling or just talking about the overall market, it always seems to be wrought with bad news. And when put in the context of appropriate housing for aging, the topic becomes even more unpleasant to discuss. The idea is that as we get older, it can be more difficult for us to live in and maintain larger houses. Going up and down the stairs, dealing with general upkeep, living in inaccessible areas – these reasons and more are important points to consider. Some adults feel the problem doesn’t apply to them. Others feel it’s something a long way off. However, it is not as simple as saying, “When problem arises that’s when I’ll address it”. This is a problem you need to plan for. As anyone who has made home renovations or moved can tell you, it’s not something that can be done on a whim. This is a decision that, in many cases, means people will have to make significant sacrifices. They will have to give up their home, likely downsize to a smaller home.

It’s not a surrender.

The hesitation to address this issue is understandable. Giving up a home — a home you might raised a family in, or even been raised in yourself — is no small thing. Having to make these significant changes due to aging can feel like you’re giving up part of your independence. Aging does change things, that much is true. And admitting that can be a hard step to take. However, putting off important decisions like this because they are difficult is poor way to handle the problem. Preparing for such things is not only smart, but it allows you to age comfortably while maintaining as much of your regular life as you can. It will not reduce your lifestyle, quite the opposite in fact. It is to enable you to continue doing what you love by taking steps to avoid age becoming a roadblock.

How prepared are you?

When Dr. Don Shiner joined us on an episode of Encore to discuss this very subject, he highlighted three key things people need to consider for aging in place:
Number one, you need to have a home where you are safe where you are safe and in control of your own destiny. Number two, you have to have friends and perhaps family nearby as you get older. Number three, you need to have supports from your community – transportation would be top of the list – that give you stability in your home.”
Does that fit with your home situation? If not, how long before you make the necessary changes? How will you ensure you are living in a house in which you can age comfortably? We don’t feel we’re getting “old”, that’s just how our psychology works. Therefore, we don’t always make the logical decisions in regard to our age. But while we’re able, it’s important we push aside the negative feelings about aging to ensure we’re making the right choices for our future.  

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