What Does It Mean to Age In Place?

October 6, 2020

If you look around at your friends and family, how many of them do you think want to live in assisted living? How many would prefer to live in their own homes? What about you?

The youngest Baby Boomer is 56. That’s just old enough to join AARP and to start thinking about what health insurance will look like in ten years. But also, their parents are 74+. 

Gen X -- the latch key generation -- are between 40 and 55 years old. Their parents left them to supervise themselves and might be happy putting their parents in assisted living. But what about them? Do they want to lose independence? No.

Neither generation does. This is why aging in place is an important topic to discuss.

What Does It Mean to Age in Place?

Aging in place is a term that we’ve adopted to mean that, as we grow older, we remain in our existing homes instead of moving to assisted living or a nursing home. 

No one wants to feel old, especially with our increased quality of life and lifespan. It's odd to think that the expected lifespan has increased, too. In 1965, when President Johnson signed Medicare into place, the life expectancy was 66 for men and 73 for women.

In 1935, just 30 years previous, it was 59 and 63, respectively, for men and women. In 2017, it's 77 and 82. We will live longer. It’s a fact.

Why Do Seniors Want to Age in Place?

The Baby Boomers are used to a high quality of living and, frankly, high standards. They are tired of the Millennials' thinking they have the edge on technology. They are quick to adopt new technology and -- incidentally -- have the disposable income to do so. 

Gen X isn’t far behind. They’re even more accustomed to being independent and may even age as a single person, since marriage isn’t as important from their financial viewpoint. 

The best reason to age in place is to keep that independence. 

“When you develop a chronic health condition, like diabetes, arthritis, or Alzheimer’s disease, aging in place means more than just staying put. You need a place to live that is safe and fits with your abilities.” AgeInPlace.org

How Can You Help Aging In Place?

There are quite a few things you can do to help with aging in place. One of them is to talk to your doctor or physician’s assistant. What long-term illnesses do you have or are you at risk for? Older women are at risk for osteoporosis, for example, and live longer than men. What if we have hip replacement surgery? Can we still get around? Where is our bedroom? 

“In our day of modern technology, this very topic of Aging in Place has become the forefront of inventive ideas to allow seniors to remain in their own home with the ongoing development and implementation of Assistive Technology.” SeniorsResourceGuide.com

There is a lot of technology to help as well as resources. The best way to age in place is with thoughtful preparation. Hiding from aging doesn’t stop the clock. So, it’s best to get ahead of it -- especially when living our best life means being independent.

Aging in Place from National Institute on Aging
Aging in Place from National Institute on Aging
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