3 Aging in Place Myths That Are Important at Any Age

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Many people have dangerous misconceptions about aging in place. Who is it really for? When should it be done? Is it even worth considering? Is it a good idea?

These are just a few of the questions that surface again and again about this critical topic. Understanding the truth about aging in place is important for people of all ages, whether for themselves or their elderly parents and relatives.

Are you ready? Let’s do some myth-busting!

Couple discussing home modifications for retirement with an aging in place specialist

MYTH #1: Aging in place is only for older people or people with disabilities.

Not true! Aren’t we all aging, after all? Anyone 40 or older should definitely consider creating a home with universal design features, even without current health concerns. 

What if, later today, you tripped over a bunched-up rug, fell, and broke your ankle? Now, you can’t put any weight through your leg and need to use a wheelchair for the next six to eight weeks. 

Are there steps to get into your home? Could the wheelchair fit through the doorway of your home? Your hallways? What about into and inside your bathroom? It wouldn’t be a problem if your home had universal design - your insurance and safety net for all those twists and turns life will send your way. 

You never know when an unexpected injury or illness will occur for which your home is unprepared. In addition, a universally-designed home maximizes safety, reducing the likelihood of injuries and accidents happening in the first place. 

A home with universal design improves the lives of anyone at any age! It requires less effort to live in and promotes independence. These benefits are helpful to everyone, but they are essential for those with disabilities or who want to age in place. 

Universal design eliminates barriers and focuses on how people interact and function in the space with the least difficulty. In a home where someone plans to age in place, universal design is more specifically focused on older adults' needs and maximizes efficiency, convenience, comfort, accessibility, and safety.

By educating yourself about universal design and aging in place, you can assist yourself and your loved ones to live well at home at any age. 

Example of an aging in place bathroom

MYTH #2: You don't need to start thinking about aging in place home renovations until you're ready to retire.

There are several reasons why it’s important to plan for aging in place long before you’re ready to retire.

First, aging in place takes thorough planning, which takes time to complete. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be. You wouldn’t begin contributing to your 401K a few months before you’re ready to stop working, would you? Don’t wait until the last minute to plan for aging in place.

You can save money on home modifications for aging in place when you plan ahead. Incorporate universal design features into new home construction or renovations you’re already doing so they'll be there whenever you or your loved ones needs them. 

Almost all home modifications necessary when you get older are beneficial now for you, your family, and visitors. Consider them as an insurance plan for a better future. Knowing that your home is prepared for unexpected challenges before and during retirement will give you so much peace of mind.

Here's another important consideration. Getting home improvement loans can also be difficult once you’re not actively working, so it is usually recommended that they be made before retirement.

Older woman sitting in a wheelchair

MYTH #3: Aging in place home modifications can be done if and when they’re needed.

As a Physical Therapist for over 25 years, working with patients in hospital, rehab, and home settings, I can tell you that the best home modifications are not completed during emergencies. Everyone, including the patient, their family, and their friends, is stressed while trying to help and dealing with an unexpected health crisis. Quick and unresearched decisions need to be made, and they are usually not the most ideal. 

Due to the circumstances of the situation, the patient frequently loses the ability to remain in control. The person wants to return home, but their home can't accomodate them. Their only option may be a nursing home or assited living facility.

Don't let this happen to you or your loved ones. Be proactive and start making home modifications before you actually need them, ensuring they'll be there to save the day when you do.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Regardless of your age or stage of life, it is crucial to understand the myths surrounding aging in place. By debunking these misconceptions, we can empower ourselves to make informed decisions about future living arrangements for ourselves and our loved ones. 

When you’re ready to create a Home Fit for a Lifetime, this retirement house guide will help. Thinking ahead allows us to maximize independence, enhance well-being, and save money…..who wouldn’t want that? 

About the Author

As a home health Physical Therapist for over 20 years, I help clients solve home dilemmas so they can live their best life.

I'm here to use that same problem-solving expertise and training as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist to help you create an optimized home that's forward-thinking and future-ready to support you and your loved ones well for a lifetime.

Ready to discover your Golden Girl strategy for a retirement-ready home?