By understanding the barriers to aging in place, you can better prepare yourself for a great life.
Aging in place has been getting a lot of attention in the media and in our daily conversations for some time now. And, as much as people think it’s a good idea, many older adults and their families go into it without a good idea of the barriers to aging in place.
We’ve seen that in the communities right here in Baltimore and York. At minimum, that can create uncomfortable situations. For many, it can create dire ones, where people are in danger or don’t get the help they need.
By understanding some of the barriers to aging in place, you can help ensure you have a much easier and enjoyable life.
Barriers to aging in place
According to Louis Tennenbaum, Founder of Homes Renewed, the lack of preparedness is one of the major barriers to aging in place.
He cites that people can not prepare, because they don’t know they should or don’t know what they should do. And, often times, if they plan, they don’t plan enough.
There are many things that can be classified as barriers to aging in place in relation to a person’s home. These can include items, such as lack of proper planning at a community level for multigenerational or intergenerational homes. As well as, affordable and accessible home options that could include co-housing, mother-in-law type cottages, etc.
One big barrier is design. Specifically, having enough homes that are built or remodeled using Universal Design, so they can be easily used by anyone. Overcoming this barrier means more people have homes that work for them, regardless of their age or ability.
Another of the barriers to aging in place is transportation. It is even an issue in the city. Here’s why:
Even though places like Baltimore (or NY or Chicago or LA) have lots of public transportation, it generally isn’t easily accessed or used by older adults. Meaning, they can’t get to it easily, get on, navigate to their destination and get back home safely.
However, in most communities, there just isn’t enough public transportation. If it some is present in the community, it typically suffers from the above issues.
Lack of general accessibility
Most communities require some compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, it is typically a minimum requirement of compliance.
What that typically means are fewer sidewalks, facilities, buildings, services, etc. that are easily accessed and used by older adults.
Typically, it isn’t a person’s age that makes them have difficulty later in life; it’s what happens to them during that time.
Health conditions, and increased needs due to decreasing abilities, are the main culprits. Essentially, as a person ages their need for outside assistance will grow. However …
If a person can prepare for some of those (which is what I help my clients do), you can seriously reduce the impact these changes have on your overall quality of life.
You’ll get to keep more control of your life and lifestyle, while being able to enjoy life more.