"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." ~ Maya Angelou
What is Aging in Place?
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Aging in Place has become the topic of many conversations for many aging adults. This concept allows our aging population, seniors over the age of 65, to stay in their place of residence as long as possible and still function independently. In a 2000 and 2003 AARP survey, 92% of 65 to 74 year olds and 95% of those over 75 all agreed that they wished to remain in their homes as long as possible (Dye, Willoughby & Basetto, 2011). Rural elderly have strong ties to their homes, communities, and a culture based on their personal experiences based on history, ethnic and or cultural connections (Dye et al., 2011). There are many challenges facing seniors who chose to age in place. The first things that are usually discussed are home modifications and adaptations. However, as occupational therapists, we know there is more involved with aging in place than just home modifications.

Aging in place is more than being in an environment of choice as one gets older, it means home; a place for emotional and functional needs to be met. A foundation where family histories are created and rich memories have been woven from shared experiences.Home contains a life-time of cherished objects that support identity and delight the senses. It’s also community and those daily rituals you’ve come to love. You plan to stay; it’s where you live!

GOALS
One of the goals of aging in place is to enhance the quality of life for elderly persons so they are comfortable in their environment and are able to participate in activities both in their homes and in their communities. Another goal is to ensure that people of all ages who plan to stay in their homes as they age would make the necessary modifications now to ensure their ability to age in plac (AOTA, 2009).

SOME OF THE CHANGES AS WE AGE

Aging brings changes to us all. As a person begins aging, it is important for them to consider and plan for the changes that will happen to them and what impacts these changes will have on their lives. As we age, our abilties and our bodies change. Some of these examples of change you might experience are:
  • Reduced vision
  • Decreased muscle strength or endurance
  • Reduced mental processing capabilities
  • Increased risk of falls due to balance
  • Increased risk of illness
  • Reduced hearing
  • Decreased mobility
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