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Ageing in place is a term that is popping up more and more frequently. But what does it mean and why is it such an important concept for our ageing population?

Whether it be in their own homes or in a community, older people want to have control over their lives and be flexible enough to make their own lifestyle choices. These are the main reasons why the concept of “ageing in place” has become popular.

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute’s (AHURi) 2005 research revealed that older Australians are challenging the notions of ageing. For them, independence is one of the main factors why the elderly are choosing the option to age in place.

While ageing in place typically refers to ageing in one’s own home, the approach is now favoured by many independent living facilities, such as retirement villages or aged care communities. With these options, the focus is on providing a home-like approach with the benefits of social interaction and a place where senior couples can spend the rest of their lives together.

Benefits of ageing in place

Maintaining identity is a major advantage of ageing in place. Independence and maintaining one’s autonomy is important for seniors since these can help ensure a high quality of life.

Other benefits include:

  • Strengthens ties with the family
  • Allows seniors to remain connected to the community they’re familiar with
  • Helps maintain social networks by keeping in contact with neighbours and friends who live nearby
  • Lets the elderly continue their lives in a familiar environment without making drastic changes
  • Helps promote mental and physical wellbeing by allowing them to live in their own home

Challenges of ageing in place

While ageing in place is becoming the preferred option for many, it’s not without its challenges. These include:

  • Modifying an existing home to meet the needs of seniors
  • Finding a contractor who can renovate a home fit for ageing in place
  • Assessing the existing home furniture and what needs to be changed or installed
  • Identifying possible structural barriers inside a home which may lead to injuries and falls
  • An elderly’s resistance to modifying anything inside their home

How ageing in place works in aged care communities

These challenges are part of the reason that aged care communities are offering an ageing in place approach. Although the person may be moving from their home, they will be moving into an apartment of their own which they can furnish as they wish. They will also have professional care on hand 24/7, lifestyle activities and neighbours of similar age and situation. This helps to reduce loneliness and social isolation and means that help is never far away if you need it.

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Belinda Peters
Belinda brings more than 17 years experience in journalism to her role as Seasons Digital Content Writer. As our blog editor, Belinda will take the confusion out of aged care with entertaining and informative stories from across the aged care industry and our Seasons communities.