Whenever seniors are surveyed about their future housing preferences, the majority say they want to stay in their own homes for as long as they are able - preferably for the rest of their lives. This preference has become known as "Aging in Place."
Several reasons account for this preference, including a comfortable environment, feelings of independence, convenience to services, familiarity, safety and security, and proximity to family. Being able to maintain an element of control is very important to the human psyche - it speaks to us of dignity, quality of life and independence. These elements can easily erode - especially as ones mobility decreases. Todays seniors are fortunate that an increasing number of products and services are becoming available that can help them comfortably stay in their own home as their circumstances begin to change. Aging in place means not having to move from your present residence in order to secure the necessary support services in response to your changing needs.
In addition to an increase in the possibility of osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, there is often decreased range of motion and dexterity resulting in a need for barrier free walking surfaces, equipment or aids that increase ones ability to get around with greater ease and safety. Decreased strength and stamina, and reduced sensory acuity (vision, hearing, thermal sensitivity, touch, smell) also contribute to the need for more specialized products and services.
Builders often do not take into account age-related conditions such as reduced mobility or limited range of reach, so most homes do not support older adults experiencing these changes. In order to stay in ones own home, seniors often require functional home modifications as well as specialized products that make tasks easier and safer to perform.
A variety of aging in place products and services are being sought by those who want to stay in their own home ranging from personal care assistance and home and yard maintenance to mobility products and aids to daily living. Bathrooms and kitchens often require modification, as do walking surfaces and entrances. Transportation solutions often need to be considered if ones ability to drive becomes compromised. Safety devices can be installed to greatly reduce the worry of falls or sudden illness. Meal delivery and/or preparation are often key elements to maintaining health and stamina. Being able to continue to socialize and get to appointments helps maintain a positive frame of miind and a sense of independence.
Products and services to satisfy even the most demanding situation are available in most communities. Quite often products and services can be added or increased by degrees to meet needs that may change over time. Businesses that cater to the aging in place senior include (but are not limited to) those offering personalized home care, downsizing services, home maintenance and renovation services, aids to daily living products and medical suppllies, security devices and safety monitoring. More and more options are springing up every day to meet this growing need.
When faced with a decision whether to stay in ones home or move to a more suitable residence, seniors now have a multitude of options. For some, the feeling of independence and familiarity steers them in the direction of seeking products and services to help them age in place. Others, however, may prefer to move to a residence that provides for their needs and still gives them the freedom to pursue a quality life without the stress of day to day decision-making.
It's heartening to know that businesses today are offering viable options regardless of which path one chooses to follow.
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