National Aging in Place week first started in 2003 when the National Aging in Place Council designated a week in the fall for families to discuss livability issues. Today is the first day of National Aging in Place week 2010. So you may be asking, what’s aging in place? Simply said, the ability to age in place is as it sounds; it’s the ability to remain in one’s home safely, functionally, and independently as long as possible.
For seniors and the elderly, the ability to age in place may mean the difference between being able to stay and age in their homes or moving out and living with family members or at a nursing home. The aging in place concept is great for older adults but is also beneficial for all populations. For example, wider doorways are beneficial for people in wheelchairs but also benefit someone trying to maneuver a baby stroller in the house. Lower light switches make turning on a light easier to someone in a wheelchair and to a child.
So, why is Aging in Place important and how can it affect you?
Everyone from baby boomers to senior citizens wants to be able to live out their golden years in the comfort and security of their own homes. Baby boomers make up 28% of the US population and own 48% of all homes. Baby boomers, now more than ever, are looking for ways to age in place realizing that they may need to make changes to their current homes or move into one that will allow them to do so. An AARP survey stated that 89% of older adults said that they wanted to stay in their current homes as they aged.
Aging in Place incorporates the concept of universal design. The Center for Universal Design defines universal design as the:
“design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”
Some features of universal design include step-less entry ways into homes, wider doorways, handrails on both sides of stairs, use of grab bars in bathrooms, and lever door handles.
So, if you want to Age in Place and think you need home modifications, who do you turn to?
There are numerous professionals that may work with individuals who desire to Age in Place. They can include:
To learn about aging in place events click here