Will you Age-In-Place or Downsize to a New Home?


“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~ A.A. Milne

If you have done the Step 1 Meeting successfully you now have a vision of where you want to end up and you can begin to plan for the future, rather than just being carried along by it.  The next task is to ASSESS exactly where you are. Only then can you draw a map of how to get from point A to point Z. This is not just about looking for the right assisted living facility - (A Place for Mom can help with that) - this is a very personal assessment of your current situation with your desired next step in mind.

The ability to assess one’s circumstances and living situation accurately is actually rather difficult. We have all developed mechanisms that we use as coping strategies to make things seem better or worse than they really are for our own purposes. If we are stoics who value independence then we may have rosy-colored glasses that we wear to deny any dangers or downsides to our situation. If we play the martyr to get sympathy then we may have placed an overly negative spin on everything. Being able to see clearly is both a practical and spiritual skill.

One of the tasks I’m certified to do is to go through someone’s existing house or apartment and determine what kind of modifications might make it possible to remain right where you are, to “age-in-place.” Since most Americans say they prefer this option, but may have assumed that it’s not safe, a thorough assessment should be made before eliminating that choice. Sometimes there are relatively inexpensive modifications that can be made to an existing dwelling that would extend your time there for many years.

Another option that is growing hugely in popularity is creating a multi-generational home. All over the country, municipalities are liberalizing the laws around granny flats or ADUs (added dwelling units). Because our country is in the midst of a chronic housing shortage, these new laws encourage homeowners to be creative with their existing space to accommodate more family members living together. I can help you assess the possibilities of such an arrangement, taking into account the pragmatic as well as the emotional challenges and benefits; especially the critical concerns of privacy and autonomy as well as ease in future caregiving.

A complete report based on the 100-point assessment tool comes with this Step 2 of Graceful Aging.