One comment/question at the American Planning Association presentation prompts me to speak to a common misconception about Aging in Place. This attendee thinks larger houses should be ‘recycled’ to new families. I agree completely. I stated it in the FAQ on my site.
Aging in Place does not mean you must remain in your home of many years..where you lived through your career or child raising. Aging in Place means you continue to live in the home of your choice if your health changes.
People move for all kinds of reasons. To be near (or far from) family. To be near recreation..the mountains or the sea. People move urban or rural. They move for community, education, medical care or just to follow their heart. To save money or to live it up! These are all lifestyle moves based in choice, aspiration, thoughtfulness or whimsy.
It is not Aging in Place if you have a stroke or break a hip and cannot return to the home you love because it is too difficult to get in or move around or the services you need to help you live safely are not available.
Forced moves from expectable health crises are not fair. It is disrespectful. In addition there is good and growing evidence that caring for people in their homes is more effective in terms of health and the use of medical, financial and care resources. Why more grass roots pressure and policy is not headed in this direction is not clear to me. The solution to medicare/medicaid problems is way more complex than raising taxes or cutting benefits. It is about facilitating personal responsibility and using resources more thoughtfully.
Using our available housing stock effectively is part of that. Downsizing is not just a lifestyle idea…it is a smart way to use resources well. I am glad this came up at the presentation last week prompting me to comment about it here.