Why is aging in place important? In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the reasons.
Aging in place. Do you know what that is? It is an idea is getting some serious traction across the U.S. and for good reason:
Right now in the U.S., most people age 65 and older either live with their spouse or alone in their own home. Which, if you think about all the people you know that age, it probably makes sense that they’re living in their own homes for as long as they can.
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Why is Aging in Place Important?
Problems can crop up when a person begins to experience what we all go through as we age: changes in our bodies, minds and capabilities. And, they haven’t prepared for it.
Because, here’s a painful truth:
Many older people, including people you know (such as your parents, spouse, friends) struggle with everyday tasks. Some of the people you know are having a hard time keeping up with the things they need to do each day, such as personal care, health care or other things associated with life at home.
They probably won’t tell you they are having trouble keeping up wit things; that’s for sure.
More of that truth is the fact that, at some point in the not to distant future, their quality of life will begin go down (if it hasn’t already). And, at some point, they won’t be able to stay at home.
Now, I’ve talked with so many older adults, but the truth is:
No matter how much we don’t want that to be us; it will be. Statistics back that up.
But, you often times can get more time at home, if you …
Start making changes now
I don’t advise you to start making changes in your life before you educate yourself. Specifically, talking with someone who understands aging in place, what people need and want when they’re older, what’s available locally to help them, etc.
What I’ve found is that people are typically more apt to make changes in their homes, first. What I mean is, they are willing to identify home modifications or remodeling that can help their homes easier to live in, now.
Those changes can often help prepare their homes to be more safe and comfortable, later.
In my opinion, you should focus on the idea of main floor living. Which means, you have everything you need for your daily life on one floor of your home. And, that floor is easily accessible. Specifically, this is a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and laundry room.
Going beyond the home
There is more to aging in place than just your house. Since the whole idea is to prepare your life for what your situation or needs may be later in life, you should have a look at the other areas of your life in that light.
- What services are available in your community that you will most likely need? Is there ample medical care, home services and transportation?
- Do you have a social network of family and friends to help?
- Will there be opportunities to socialize and can you get to them?
- Can you get out and about, despite any limitations?
The whole point is looking very carefully at what life may be like later, and ensuring your community can provide that for you. So, you can begin making the appropriate changes and plans.
As you start planning
One other thing. As you begin hashing some of this out, start reaching out to local professionals who can help you accomplish your goals, such as an elder law attorney, certified financial planner, an Occupational Therapist or accessible home Remodeler who are experienced in working with folks prepare their lives for the future.
That’s the answer to, “Why is aging in place important?” and what you can start doing to take action for your own life.
Keep in mind that the earlier you begin, the greater the chance you will be able to keep living a life that is meaningful to you.