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Planning for Aging in Place: Incorporating the Voice of Elders to Promote Quality of Life

, Owen Long, Linda Kessler
Published: 10 February 2019

Abstract: Aging in place offers emotional and physical benefits; however, challenges associated with advanced age may make aging in place difficult. As communities across the country prepare for forecasted increases in the proportion of older residents, it is important to understand barriers that may prevent aging in place. Perceived barriers voiced by residents of a suburban county who completed an Aging in Place Needs Assessment Survey were categorized into four themes: need to downsize/home modification; need for assistance; family desire to reciprocate care; and isolation. A fifth group with no intent to relocate, but with concerns about having to, was also identified. Included among this group were persons with mental health or developmental disorders, such as anxiety and autism spectrum disorder. Results were examined through a person-centered lens to illustrate that aging in place may be the desired option even among residents who indicate that it is not. It is important that aging-in-place initiatives preserve identity by fostering a sense of autonomy, control, and well-being in older residents.
Keywords: ecological model of aging / identity process theory / person-centered planning

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