The natural aging process brings about physical and emotional changes in all people. While these changes are usually gradual and vary from person to person, some may come on faster or stronger due to illnesses or accidents.
Aging and/or a disability may result in the following physiological changes:
- Weakened muscular strength and/or less energy
- Impaired vision (sensitivity to glare, less depth perception, less color perception)
- Hearing loss – starting with high frequencies
- Loss of balance and stability
- Delayed reaction time
- Increased fears for personal safety (e.g., fear of falling, crime, etc.); older adults and individuals with disabilities of any age may have more difficulties living independently at home
Recent studies show that almost 90% of seniors want to remain in their home and community as they age. To do so they may face several problems:
- Accessibility – due to physical limitations the home may not be safe, easily accessible, and/or require expensive modifications
- Affordability – the cost of buying and maintaining the home, or paying for taxes and utilities can be difficult for those on fixed, limited income
- Choice – the local housing market may not offer enough choices for seniors to remain in their community
connecting to services – the need for fast and easy access to support services for older people and/or those of any age with a disability to continue living in their home.
CICOA, the area agency on aging for central Indiana, promotes the creation of “aging-in-place” communities that include housing options that offer the opportunity for seniors and people of any age with a disability to maintain their independence, dignity, and quality of life.
CICOA provides access to information and assistance in locating affordable and appropriate housing for individual’s needs. Specifically, CICOA will assist individuals, caregivers, and advocates with information and resources regarding:
- home accessibility solutions, i.e. ramps, step-in showers, grab bars, etc.
- home repairs that include heating, cooling, electrical systems,
- property tax assistance/abatement,
- and alternative housing and/or living options.