Aging in Place: The Questions

by Louis on August 16, 2010

Maryann Haggerty‘s article, A Safe Home, Step by Step, from this Saturday’s Washington Post has me thinking. The article contains good details covering problems and solutions for Aging in Place in homes with stairs.* Stairs are often the culprit forcing folks to move from their house. Planning in advance of a health problem, a point stated clearly in the article, is the best way to assure against the forced move.
The article inspired me to think about some underlying issues. I came up with three sets of questions- for homeowners, for advocates and for players.
A. Two underlying questions homeowners and families should be asking about Aging in Place:

1. Can I get into and out of my house?

2. Can I get to a bed and full bath once I am in?

If you are unsure of the answers, or know the answers are negative call an accessibility expert and get cracking on the solutions! Sure there is more you need to know,  What services are available?, How are they organized and managed? and of course, How do I pay for all this?, BUT if you can’t into bed and get a decent shower- how can you live in your home?

B. Two big questions for Aging in Place marketers, advocates and proponents?

1. How do we get people to act, as planners, before the needs present themselves in a crisis?

2. What incentives or other influences can push people to make the investments?

This is the United States. Individual action is paramount. Everyone’s home is different. Together that means there is plenty of room for individual decisions, small business, and local programming. Before those can be successful, however, we need market demand. Demand is often a combination of what is ‘popular’ and what is ‘incentivized’. We need preparing to Age in Place to be both.

C. For those who want to provide Aging in Place services – business or non-profit:

1. How will the Aging in Place management system develop so services flow smoothly from one provider to another as needs change?

2. How will government and other insurance programs be pushed to get on board and evolve to make the finances work?

Business and communities are interested in this market. Indicators- recognition of the term, news stories, and more – show Aging in Place to be the future. The Intel/GE merger leaders point out the technology is not the barrier. The barrier is lack of a system, and the common image of the world when Aging in Place is dominant. How do we make it so?

* Disclosure” I am one of the experts quoted in the article.

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