Like the majority of older Americans, you may be intending to live in your current home for as long as possible. Your decision to age in place, (that is, remain in your current home or community as you age), may seem like an obvious and logical choice. After all, you have invested time and money into your home and have fond memories of the time you have spent there with family and friends. Home not only connects us to people important to us, but also can give us a sense of place and belonging in our communities.
Aging in place in a safe and well-maintained home has many benefits. It helps improve personal health, social interactions, and connections to community resources. Living in a good home also enables us to enjoy a better quality of life. Yet, aging in place is more than just planning to stay in your home.
Aging in place requires an examination of different aspects of life including housing, health and well being, finances, transportation, and social relationships. Even though many older Americans believe they will be able to manage changes that might occur in their health, well being, and finances, approximately 70% will require help with their care at some point, for up to three years. Thinking about your current and future potential needs and pre-planning for changes, including home modifications, can assist in maintaining your independence at home and will promote your ability to age in place.
Deciding where and how to age in place requires more than just your intention; it should be part of a process that includes personal reflection, conversations with people important to you, intentional planning, and action.
Generally, the first step in holding conversations about aging in place is to identify what you want and expect in a home. Would you rather stay in your current home, move to a different home in your community, or move into a new home in a new community? And does your budget align with these desires?
Once you have a better idea of where you want to live and what you can afford, you can start making a plan. How do you want to get around and stay active in your community? This planning tool will help you think through all these aspects so that you can better determine how to stay active, healthy and happy as you age!
This workbook is designed to help you develop your own individualized plan to age in place. The materials included were adapted from respected aging in place resources including AARP, National Aging in Place Council, and MetLife.
The questions in this workbook cover key issues and factors that can impact person’s ability to maintain independence in their later years. Questions are separated into five focus areas: Housing, Health and Wellness, Personal Finance, Transportation, Connection & Growth.
Each of the five focus areas contributes to overall success with aging in place and should not be overlooked or left to chance. Successful aging in place involves consideration and sound planning related to each of these themes.