While not a new idea, Aging-in-Place is often confusing. The term Aging-in-Place means different things to different industries. In healthcare, Aging-in-Place means providing services to seniors throughout their life. Independent living, assisted living, continuing care retirement community (CCRC), and nursing home. The benefit of this concept is that the senior ages in the same community allowing for coordination of services and benefits. Aging-in-Place can also mean aging in the same community. For example, a senior may decide to downsize a home or move into an apartment while staying in the current community. This allows the senior to continue to use familiar services such as their doctor, dentist, and hairdresser.
Finally, Aging-in-Place also means home modifications to meet the needs of the aging adult. Home modifications may include installing grab bars in the shower to prevent falls. Home modifications for Aging-in-Place may also include widening doorways for access with wheelchairs or walkers. Finally, home modifications may include installing extra light or a chair lift, or remodeling a bathroom to include a walk-in shower. There are many ways to modify your home to age in place. You can use this AARP guide for your home.
Regardless of the way the term Aging-in-Place is used, the fact remains, the majority of seniors want to stay at home as they age. According to the Society of Certified Senior Advisors, 90% of seniors surveyed by AARP in 2013, want to live at home as long as possible. 82% agreed they want to age in their home even if they needed help with care and activities of daily living. But aging-in-place has benefits and challenges.
Benefits of Aging in Place
- No Mortgage
- Home Equity
- Memories and Special Bonding
- Familiarity and Comfort
- Professional Services (Doctor, Dentist, Hairdresser)
While these are great reasons to stay put in your home as you age, there are challenges to consider as well.
Challenges of Aging in Place
- Home Maintenance
- Unsafe Neighborhood
- Costly Repairs
- Older homes are less efficient
- Safety Concerns-Falls
- Lack of or Limited Access for Wheelchairs, Showers, etc.
You have a bond with your home. It is difficult to leave years of memories because your house does not meet your aging needs. If you are considering a senior housing change, start with knowing your options. If you prefer to keep your home, speak with a Certified Aging Professional (CAP). A CAP is a licensed contractor who specializes in Aging-in-Place. Based on Universal Design principles, home modifications for aging-in-place starts with an assessment. A CAPS licensed contractor will assess your home and give you information on ways to modify it to allow you to stay independent as long as possible.
If you decide to move, speak with a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) Realtor who is specially trained to guide clients 50 and over and their families through the buying, selling, and moving process.
The decision to stay or move is difficult. The problem is that most seniors wait too long to decide. This places their children or loved ones in a difficult situation where urgent decisions must be made. Start the process early by knowing where you want to live as you age. Then contact a professional who works with seniors to help you decide to stay or move. Whether you stay in your current home or move within your community, if you’re like most seniors, you’ll want to age-in-place. A trusted expert can help you decide.