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Aging in the Right Place

Marie shuffles cautiously across the kitchen floor, a small cup of black coffee shaking slightly in sore hands. She gently settles into her favorite chair at the table, and sets the coffee down on a placemat lined with photos of her 10 great-grandchildren.

Marie lives alone in the home she and her husband bought at the beginning of their marriage. She’s sharp and still spends time with her great-grandkids and goes to church on Sundays, but physical limitations have caused her to slow down.

Daily living has become more difficult, and she has had to give up taking friends to the doctor, volunteering at the local school, and driving at night. So it was no surprise to Marie when her family recently expressed how worried they are about her living alone. But sitting at the table, she can’t imagine leaving the house she has called home for more than 50 years.

If you know someone like Marie, you know the decision to stay or go can feel overwhelming. The anxiety over costs and expenses, what to do with your belongings, and the fear of the unknown are top of mind. If you’re a caregiver, you may be struggling with the balance between your worry and your loved one’s independence. This is natural.

80% of seniors want to age in their own homes. Yet, many may admit that their current home might not be suitable for them for the rest of their lives. They may not have the money to maintain their home or modify it to meet their needs later in life. But more than anything else, they want to decide their own future.

We all want the dignity of choice. Education, resources, and tools can help us and our families peel back the surface layers of concerns and fears—and make space for conversations.

If we can successfully connect seniors and their families to information that enables informed choices and subsequent action, our nation’s seniors will be empowered to age in the RIGHT place—a home that is safe, comfortable, and affordable.

Are you concerned about aging at home? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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amy ford

About Amy Ford

Amy Ford is NCOA's Senior Director of Home Equity Initiatives and Social Accountability. She leads a team that provides education, counseling, and support across the country to older adults considering accessing their home equity.

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