Aging In Place
Excerpt taken from:
The Real Estate BUYER’S AGENT Council, Inc.
Senior Real Estate Specialist Designation Course
Aging in place refers to three types of situations:
- Remaining in the current residence and not being forced to leave it in order to secure the necessary support services in response to changing needs.
- Aging in the community in a different residence such as condo, apartment, or different house with friends, family activities, and organizations nearby.
- Relocation for the last time to a community that provides a range of options as needs change from independent and assisted living to skilled nursing.
Research by the Joint Center for Housing at Harvard shows that by age 60, most lock in their housing choice for aging in place. On a more personal level, aging in place means staying in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably and enjoying the daily routine and rituals that give structure, order, and pleasure in life. The pleasure of living in a familiar environment continues throughout maturing years and the reassurance of being able to call a house a home for a lifetime creates security and peace of mind.
For many, where they are located at age 65 is where they will stay, as most live out their lives wherever they are at that age milestone. Among second-home owners in the leading edge of the Baby Boomers, a significant number are moving in their late 50s or early 60s to their vacation homes and then staying put. Another trend is to relocate and then commute from the planned retirement residence during those last few years in the full-time work world.
While aging in place is by far the most preferred option, AARP research reveals that 80 percent of the aging population will experience special housing needs at some point in the future. Modifications in the home can make it possible for seniors to stay in their own homes for many years. For example, breaking a hip is a common and valid fear of the elderly; without aggressive physical therapy, nearly half recover only partially and die within a year or two as a result of the injury. Some simple home modifications, such as handrails, hallway lights, and grab bars in the shower or tub can help prevent this life-changing injury.
Aging in place requires the right home. Older workers should consider making their homes elder friendly and accessible while they are still working and can afford to pay for the renovations or move to a home that will be better suited. They may wish to consult with a professional early on when evaluating current and future needs for staying in their homes. For example, the National Association of Home Builders awards the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation to builders who have completed a course of study in adaptive modifications of homes.