What is aging in place? – Aging in Place Definition
According to a joint report, “Aging in Place: A Resource for Health Centers”, from the National Center for Equitable Care for Elders (NCECE, Harvard) and MHP Salud:
Aging in Place refers to a person making a conscious decision to stay in the inhabitation of their choice for as long as they can with the comforts that are important for them. As people age, these may include adding supplementary services to facilitate their living conditions and maintain their quality of life.
~ “Aging in Place: A Resource for Health Centers”, National Center for Equitable Care for Elders (NCECE, Harvard) and MHP Salud, October, 2019
What is aging in place? : Explained
We get asked regularly, “What does aging in place mean?” In everyday language, it means making the choice to stay in your home, and that you have planned on how your home and community will continue to meet your changing needs as you grow older.
According to AgeInPlace.com, aging in place has several components that should be considered, including:
Deciding you wish to age in place means you are choosing:
- how you want to spend your retirement years
- how you want your home to be set up
- what your health care choices will be
- which types of assistance are right for you
- what your wishes are for major life events (sickness, housing transitions, financial decisions)
Many people think aging in place is just about your home; making changes to make it easier to live in. Although that is a major component, it is not the only one. As you can see, it is a fair amount to contend with.
Staying in your home
This is the home of your choice; it doesn’t necessarily mean your current home. Rather, it can be any home you choose and any type.
- Single family home
- Home of a friend or family member
- Mobile or prefabricated home
What it means for your home is making any modifications or doing any remodeling that is going to make your house support you in later years.
As we grow older our bodies, minds and abilities change. A few changes most everyone will experience at some point, include:
- Increased risk of falling
- Reduced vision
- A decrease in mobility
- Reduction or loss of hearing
- More health issues
- Decreased muscle strength or endurance
- Emotional changes
- Changes in how the brain processes input
Accepting that and planning for those changes is a big part of preparing yourself, your home and your lifestyle for aging in place. It puts more control in your hands and will improve your quality of life.
Aging in place planning
The goal of aging in place is to live as independently as you are able as your needs change later in life. That requires planning that is different than a lot of people are used to in their lives.
If you want to live in the home of your choice while you grow older, you will need a good plan that focuses on your quality of life and covers your self, home, finances, care and other parts of your life as early as possible. This plan should be maintained over time as your situation changes.
Having an Occupational Therapist on your team
Having an Occupational Therapist who is knowledgeable and experienced in aging in place can be indispensable. I’ve spent over 20 years working as an OT in various settings helping older adults maximize their lives. I’m also a Certified Aging in Place Specialist.
Together, I can help you create a plan for aging in place, get your home modified so it suits your needs and help you be prepared for living life on your terms.