It can be heard on the radio, seen on TV and read in numerous online forms the common belief that all older adults want to age in their own home, they want to “age in place.”In conversations with seniors about housing you might hear comments like “you will have to carry me out of here in a pine box”or this statement “this is my home I will never move.” No matter who you talk to you will find a lot of passion around aging and housing.
The question is are older adults that attached to their homes or is this bravado a convenient way of postponing a tough housing decision? On the outside a senior might be saying “I want to stay” on the inside the story might be different. The “family home” could be eroding precious retirement income and savings due to high operating and maintenance costs. The family home can slowly switch from a safe haven to an unsafe environment filled with potential fall and trip hazards such as stairways, bathtubs and dangerous floor coverings.
Besides the physical dangers the now empty family home can cause anxiety through isolation and lack of socialization. Society seems to think it is a badge of honour when a senior can still be living alone in the family home not realizing that the lack of human contact can be devastating to a person’s mental health.
The statement should change from “aging in place” to “aging in the right place.” Through thoughtful discussion and strategic planning older adults can find the right environment that will provide safety, socialization and financial flexibility to enjoy their retirement years.