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Aging in Place- Let's Make it Easy!

by Louis on February 11, 2010

Working with the simple definition: Aging in Place is NOT being forced from your home due to a health crisis; we know that many folks who want to Age in Place are not able to do it. Families are frustrated because trying is too hard and the alternatives shame us. Almost anyone who has worked in the assisted living industry knows that a lot of folks are reluctant and disappointed to make that move. They have failed to Age in Place.

What keeps people from Aging in Place?

It is not desire. Our key statistic is that over 80 some percent want to remain at home.
It is not fear. The recent Clarity study from the EAR Foundation showed that people fear a loss of independence more than they fear death.
I don’t think it’s denial. Most older people are not unaware they have gotten old. Just because they are not wallowing in depression, does not mean they are in denial. That prejudice is in the observer.

But there are barriers. The design of most homes is a barrier. Performing activities of daily living like dressing, bathing and using the toilet safely without some assistance is a barrier. Confusing eligibility for services is a barrier. Uncoordinated services is a barrier. Basically these barriers make it hard.

“Today, what is so cheerfully described as aging in place, with enough money in retirement or the ability to keep working, living in one’s own home, with the myriad of services that are needed — THIS IS A MYTH. “, Laurie Orlov, Aging in Place Technology Watch

How do we do make it easy?

Easy is the realtor, car or appliance salesperson who makes the finance arrangements for the sale.
Easy is Benefits CheckUp from NCOA
Easy is the general contractor who lines up all the materials and sub-contractors on your behalf.
Easy is the department store with alterations staff on site.
Easy is immunizations available quickly in a place you go anyway.
Easy is parking in the building or valet.
Easy is exercise class conveniently located and scheduled (rather than a handout about what to do).
Easy is ski rental near the slopes.

In other words EASY is when the hard part of research and coordination is done for you by people who know the situation, resources and get the whole picture.

HARD is figuring out and arranging complex interlocking pieces on your own. Especially when you are in health and emotional difficulty. It seems really silly to do any of this on your own when there are folks who already know!

How do we make Aging in Place easy?
We have to make a smooth infrastructure whose point is to make it easy. The various industry partners- home health, remodeling, tech, and many others in the ‘continuum of care’ must recognize that they are one industry- Aging in Place. The service silos that protect turf, avoid coordination and make service flow impossible must be torn down. Those are the basics. If we set a vision-

Aging in Place is more desirable Housing AND Care using Design, Tools & Technologies through a Comprehensive and DYNAMIC Management System Integrating all Resources more Efficiently for the Lifestyle and Dignity of Older Citizens in the Home of their Choice.

and develop a strategic plan to get there and then DO IT we will move in the right direction.

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