Aging in Place

September 2017

Aging in place describes ways that allow people to remain in their home as they age.  It requires support services to aid seniors in addressing health, mobility, sensory and safety, and companionship concerns that tend to increase as one gets older.

Aging in place recognizes that seniors are not the only people who need assistance to age in place.  Anyone with permanent or temporary physical or mental infirmities also may require aging in place services.

Condo living changes what is needed to help people remain in their home.  It creates conditions more conducive to aging in place while presenting unique challenges.

Condo living changes what is needed to help people remain in their home.  It creates conditions more conducive to aging in place while presenting unique challenges.

Some condominium managers and directors may view seniors as a challenge.  They may focus on the demands an aging population may place on condo communities rather than working towards effective integration.

  • Seniors tend to be in their community at times when others are away.  They are more likely to notice, identify and report problems such as theft or vandalism.  Seniors can and should be actively encouraged to serve as guardians of common or public areas.
  • Seniors typically have more time available to contribute to the community.  They participate on committees, can be more active in social programming and provide management expertise to a condo corporation.

Recognizing and seeking to improve aging in place concerns is a responsibility of condominium managers and directors.

  •  Those on more modest incomes may find it more difficult to age in place.  They lack resources to provide themselves with outside caregivers or assistance thus placing condominium managers, superintendents and others in an inappropriate role of caregiver.
  • Residents who become ill without family or friends to assist them are a challenge to the community.  Condominium managers can prepare by maintaining a list of emergency contacts for each resident.  Where emergency contacts are unavailable or do not exist, maintaining a list of external resources including home care agencies, retirement homes and government resources will prove useful.
  • The potential for building evacuations needs to be evaluated based on demographics.  Seniors will have more difficulty navigating stairs and require assistance.  Some may be unable to evacuate.  Evacuations will be more time consuming and more challenging for both seniors and condo building management who must comply with fire and other regulations.  Maintaining a list of residents unable to evacuate because of physical or health issues would be helpful.
  • For seniors, having them provide a consent to release personal information would allow management to more easily work with social agencies and other services when such services are deemed necessary.  For seniors dealing with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other problems such a document would allow condominium managers to provide assistance while considering the needs and rights of an entire condo community.  This would allow management and boards to act on their duty to protect residents who may be a danger to themselves or others.

Such efforts can facilitate aging in place in condo buildings while meeting the needs of all condo community residents.  These efforts would reduce the likelihood that condo management and directors would have to resort to more extreme measures to address specific concerns.