A New Look at Aging in Place

I was reading a report* the other day that is subtitled “Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge’. Unless this is your first time reading Housing Matters you know that I am an advocate for Aging in Place and that I help people remain in their homes by remodeling for safety and accessibility. The report I was reading points out, and anyone who has been through it can verify, there are many more pieces to the puzzle that must be assembled in order to successfully age in place. In order to safely and comfortably remain in their own homes, seniors (and people of any age who have a disability) must have a support system which includes connections to the outside world such as monitoring, home care, transportation, activities, etc as well as home adaptations and assistive technologies that make the home environment usable and safe for anyone regardless of ability or other limiting factors. The underlying idea is to create an infrastructure in the community that provides all of the services available in a retirement community at a lower cost and in the comfort of your own home. The senior benefits because over 80% of people over 45 surveyed said that they want to stay in their own homes as they age. The community also benefits when older remain people remain in their neighborhoods. I believe strongly that we lose a valuable source of wisdom and strength when our senior citizens are isolated in retirement communities. This integrated system of home design, monitoring, and comprehensive care services coordinated to provide care for seniors living at home is referred to in the report as Aging in Place 2.0. I expect you will be hearing more about this concept in the months and years to come.

This is an idea whose time has come. I can envision clusters of houses; either newly built using Universal Design principles or existing homes remodeled to incorporate these principles. The houses would allow their residents to live independently and with dignity while a monitoring and care system would be available to help as needed with activities of daily living or emergencies. In many ways the idea harkens back to a simpler time when people simply took care of one another because it’s the right thing to do instead of waiting for some government program to come along and do it for them. Maybe putting these systems in place in our communities will be a step toward reducing the large amount of government intrusion in our lives. We’ve got to start somewhere. If you are interested in reading this report, send me an email to cmoore@solidrockenterprises.com. If you provide services to seniors and would be interested in being part of a network that makes this level of care available to our aging population here in Southwest Virginia, let me know. We need to make it easier for seniors to access the services they need to lead safe, comfortable, and fulfilling lives. If you are a senior and your home isn’t working for you as well as it used to and you would like to learn more about the services that Solid Rock Enterprises, Inc. can provide in making your home a safer, more secure, and more comfortable place to live, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to come out and take a look. You can call me at (540) 384-2064 or write to me at Solid Rock Enterprises, Inc., 428 West Riverside Drive, Salem, VA 24153.

* The MetLife Report on Aging in Place 2.0 © 2010 MetLife

Solid Rock has written many articles for Housing Matters, including subject matter for Retirement, Enjoying the Outdoors and Aging In Place.  Please visit our Housing Matters Index of articles here.