Aging in Place

HealthyActiveSeniors.com - Stay in Your HomeYour home is your castle – regardless of the square footage or if it is a house, condominium or apartment. But it’s surprising how few baby boomers and seniors really consider the relationship between their home, their quality of life and independence. It is surprising how few boomers and seniors are familiar with the whole topic of ‘aging in place.’

Healthy Active Seniors embrace the concept of ‘aging in place’.

What is aging in place? It’s all about planning for the future today – to ensure you can live safely and comfortably tomorrow.

Many of us have or will be downsizing. Some will be renovating. But do you know what to consider when you’re looking for a new home or decide to renovate? My husband and I didn’t until about 6 months after we moved into a brand new home. We could have made a couple of minor changes to the design that would have had long term benefits – but we were not aware of these options.

Take for instance a simple decision about door width. We sacrificed the width of the bathroom door for more counter and cupboard space. We got greedy on one hand and are now left with a 28-inch wide doorway that will never accommodate anyone – ourselves or visitors – who may require a wheel chair.

We also ignored the fact that it would have been so simple to have a barrier free shower in at least one of the two bathrooms – a huge feature for resale value. By simply eliminating the 4-inch granite lip and making the shower ‘curbless’ we would have created a truly modern bathroom. As one designer wrote, these are not your grandmothers showers anymore! A barrier free shower actually provides the wow factor, creating a spa like look – as well as providing safety and function.

Aging in Place is “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

Aging in Place as You Get Older Just Takes a Little Planning

Consider some practical questions:

  • If you want to live in your current home as you get older, what modifications should you start to think about?
  • Should you consider moving to a more manageable home – maybe a condo, bungalow or a smaller home with less property to maintain.
  • What are your housing options if your current home no longer suits your needs?
  • What supports and services does your community offer to meet your needs and help maintain your independence as you get older?
  • Is public transit handy?
  • What will this all cost?

The fact is most people over the age of 65 would prefer to live in their own homes as long as possible. And with our aging population, there will be a huge shortage of assisted living options. The more you know about planning ahead to ensure you can live safely and comfortably in your own home, the better.

Our homes are an extension of our quality of life – regardless of the size or type of our personal ‘castle’.

We have to take steps to ensure we can maintain our independence as long as possible. And the reason is simple. Consider this excerpt from a recent article in the Toronto Star:

Senior care is being called the most pressing public issue in Canada today, and for good reason.

Those over 65 now account for about 15 per cent of the population but consume an estimated 45 per cent of public health care spending. Yet Canadian seniors typically wait longer than those in comparable countries to see a specialist. Home care services fall well short of what’s needed in many parts of the country; palliative care is inadequate; and families struggle with the burden of caring for aged and ill relatives.

Now the bad news: It’s all poised to become a whole lot worse with the arrival of the coming “grey tsunami.”

If being cared for by your family and possibly needing residential care is not the future you want, then you have to be proactive. Healthy Active Seniors know the relationship between exercise, mental healthy and the concepts of aging in place – all critical elements of maintaining our independence.

Healthy Active Seniors will share all of the information you need to consider – helping you ask the right questions when it comes to making decisions about your home.

I look forward to the journey with you. If you have any questions or comments please email me. 

Suzanne Mulligan-Born