Where to age in place becomes the question, after you’ve decided you want to age in place?
To decide on the where, you must look at where you live right now. It doesn’t matter if you live in a house, a condo, an apartment or garden suite. The question is, can you age in place there?
There are certain things professionals look for when considering if a home environment is safe and appropriate for aging in place.
Quick Where to Age in Place Checklist:
· are all amenities on one floor (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, laundry)?
· is the space barrier free and mobility friendly?
· are there services close at hand to provide for you (grocery, social, spiritual)?
Now let’s tackle each of these questions in a bit more detail.
Are all amenities on one floor?
Imagine if you broke your leg and needed a wheelchair – can you access everything you would need in a day? Is your washroom, bedroom, kitchen and laundry all on floor. If not all on floor, do your plans include a spouse who can assist you to other levels or could you make modifications to where you live now to make everything on one floor?
Is the space barrier free and mobility friendly?
Again, if you were in that wheelchair, could you get through all your doorways? Are their stairs at the entrance, could you get a wheelchair in and out of the bathroom? Maybe you won’t need a wheelchair but could you use a walker effortlessly where you live?
Are there services close at hand to provide for you?
This question speaks to your community. If you lost your drivers license or couldn’t drive temporarily – could you walk to what you need? Can you get groceries, could you get to friends and family, and can you participate in the things in life you enjoy like church or hobbies? Community mobility is just as important as home mobility.
If any of these questions had a ‘no’ answer for you – then where you currently live is not age in place friendly. This means that if you want to age in place, you need to start researching, planning and preparing for what type of residence could meet your need.
If you are in a house, moving to a condo might make sense. If you live in a walk up apartment, you may want to move to one with an elevator or main floor access. If you live in the suburbs where you are reliant on a car, then you may want to move more central for better access to resources. If you don’t have much family or social network, then a move into a retirement living residence may be the best fit.
It’s not always about the building where you live but just as important is the location.
I’ve met people in their early 50s who have had a stroke and can no longer live in their home. If you got that news today would you be able to stay home? If a move could help you in the future, why not make that move before a crisis hits? Wanting to age in place means making a plan to age in place.
See also: Part 1: What does “Age in Place” mean?