So you want to Age in Place?
Well you hear the term enough, whether on TV commercials, radio or in the back of every magazine, aging in place or similar themes are present in many forms.
So maybe you are starting to ask what is this ‘thing’ called aging in place, does it apply to me and should I be thinking about it?
We are all aging, you are probably reading this article in your home, so am I not already aging in place?
Maybe this definition from the National Association of Home Builders will shed some light on the question.
Aging in place means the ability to remain in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. It means the pleasure of living in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years, and the ability to enjoy the familiar daily rituals and the special events that enrich all our lives. It means the reassurance of being able to call a house a “home” for a lifetime.
The answer is yes we are already aging in place and if asked want to continue to do so, so let’s pose a different question – How can we safely age in place?
Can you relate to one of the groups below?
1. Aging in place without urgent needs: those who want to stay in their current home, are not experiencing immediate health/mobility issues.
2. Aging in place with aging related needs: living independently, but daily tasks are becoming harder such as climbing stairs, getting the mail or bathing.
3. Aging in place with progressive condition-based needs: those with chronic or progressive conditions that will require special modifications and care to remain in their current home.
4. Aging in place with traumatic change needs: individuals who experience an abrupt or immediate change such as a fall or a stroke that demands immediate adjustments in the living environment.
Most reading this article can probably relate directly or indirectly to one of the groups above. Obviously you cannot foresee all circumstances going forward, but it surprising how few in group one start thinking about safety until a traumatic event occurs and how many in group two struggle daily using a loose towel bar, or shower handle to navigate in and out of the tub, it only takes a second to move to group 4.
A little prevention can go a long way, minor home modifications can reduce the chance of falling, make daily tasks easier and safer, assist with care and rehabilitation and allow your home to adapt with you as your needs change. This will not only improve your overall quality of life, but that of those around you. Whether it is a safety bar, shower chair, anti-slip strips or handrail on the front steps, all no matter how minor add immeasurably to your day to day safety no matter what group you relate to.