Aging in place is a new buzz word for boomers and I’m one of them. Yep, I’m a baby boomer and I’m really not that interested in moving into a retirement home.
My first choice, and the first choice of 90% of adults over 65 is to age in place. The definition of aging in place is to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. The main objective is to maintain and/or improve the quality of life in our senior years.
Aging in place requires planning and it is an evolving plan which changes as our situations change. My grandparents lived until they were 100 years old. They were avid letter writers, writing letters daily. Their last few years were spent in a condominium with three flights of steps. The mailbox was up the hill. So everyday except Sunday they happily walked down 3 flights of stairs and up the hill to post their letters and get their mail. Stairs were not an issue for either of them thanks to good genes. However, they moved to a condominium from the farm because it was closer to health care and family members.
This is a picture of my mom’s family in 2013. Her cousin Pat is now 97 years old(seated on far left in picture) and lives in her own farm house where she raised her eight children. She uses a walker now but still gardens. At least one of her children stop by on a daily basis but she is independent and self sufficient. All of the people in this photo are aging in place.
Realistically as we plan for aging in place we should anticipate some changes in our bodies and capabilities which can impact our activities. Considering how aging impacts our mobility around the house, driving safety, transportation, social activities and health maintenance, can guide us when building a plan for aging in place.
Aging in place is a choice. The right home is important. The earlier we start our plan to age in place, the more control we have over our quality of life. The question to ask is: What is my ideal place to grow older. Considerations are our emotional attachments and sense of attachment to our homes, feelings of security and connection to our neighborhoods and communities. AARP has a good list of questions that are helpful in the process.
Just yesterday I heard a story of a single grandma who opted to age in place in a 4000 square foot condo so she could accommodate her many grandchildren. So aging in place is definitely very personal. All sizes and types of homes can be retrofitted for the needs of seniors. These ideas about bathrooms will start you thinking in the direction of remodels to homes that will improve quality of life for seniors. (Here some high-tech bathroom ideas that may be fun when you are planning this bath.)
Here are a couple of options that are currently on the market that could be options for those who prefer to make a move. The loft at 2020 Washington has an open floor plan which would easily accommodate wheel chairs. The building has elevators and basement parking. Or really step it up and move to luxury of the Chase Park Plaza. Maybe a one-bedroom apartment rental with no steps?
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