It is easy to imagine why ageing at home (also known as ‘in place’) is important to so many. A home is cherished, and typically steeped in family history, tradition, and prized possessions. This desire for older people to live at home is evident in data released by Statistics Canada in 2014 showing that 92% of people 65 and older are living at home.
Yet, ageing in place does not come without it’s challenges. The housing and accessibility needs of older people are often not well understood, meaning that the adaptations older people require to age comfortably in their homes may not be undertaken until after an injury or unplanned event has occurred – at which point it may be too late. Without appropriate modifications, there is also a risk that older people will not be able to utilize their homes fully and as a result, may become isolated.
The New York Times article “How to Age Well and Stay in Your Home” mentions, there are also costs to consider when living at home versus in a retirement or long-term care facility. For some, costs to modify your home or hire at-home caregivers may outweigh the monthly cost of living in a facility. Those interested in learning more about housing for older adults can contact Professor Marie Beaulieu, an IFA ageing expert.
The article also begs the question: does giving up your own home mean losing independence? The answer is, not always. Older people are not a homogenous group – what works for one person may not work for the next. Mr. Mark Brandon, OAM is an expert on strategy, health, and aged care who can speak to the suitability of care options for different people.
What is clear is that ageing at home is preferred for a significant number of older people – but not all. By fostering choice and providing a variety of housing options society is enabling independence for older people to choose what is best for them.
Prof. Marie Beaulieu Professor, School of Social Work
Marie Beulaieu is a professor at the department of social services of the faculty of letters and humanities of the Université de Sherbrooke.
Mr. Mark Brandon, OAM. Chief Policy and Regulatory Officer
Mark is an internationally recognised thought leader and expert on strategy,