Welcome to the Course!

To make the written part of this course easier to take in, you'll find audio recordings like the one below. Click on the .mp3 file name below to listen.

Aging is an inevitable part of life, but few homes are built to accommodate this fact. This is why too many people end up leaving their familiar and beloved surroundings sooner than necessary as the years roll on. This is distressing in itself, but even the thought of it ahead of time, while you’re still completely able-bodied, can lower the quality of life for years ahead of the reality. But things can be different and better for many people, including you. That’s what this hands-on, technically-oriented course aims to accomplish. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) 90% of people over 65 want to stay in their own home. That’s no surprise, but very few actually do manage to avoid institutional care. This is where this course can make all the difference.

You’ll learn all about specific upgrades that can change your golden senior years for the better in a big way. Complete these renovations yourself or hire professionals with the insights you’ll gain here. This course is very much about both theory and practice.

The challenges I’ll help you overcome are largely practical, and together we’ll assess the home you’re in now, considering the options for renovation ideas both large and small, all with the aim of extending the time you can safely and comfortably continue to live in your own space. The goal is to make your golden years as golden, active and pleasant as possible, and with any luck avoid the nursing home completely. There’s a lot that can be done to make this happen. 

Like I said, few homes are built to accommodate the realities of aging, so there’s often lots of room for improvement, beginning with small but important things. There’s also big money to be saved compared with institutional care. If you want to be proactive about making the most of your golden years, then let’s get to work.

“Aging in Place” is an official, technical term coined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), defined as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” 

I’m Steve Maxwell, course creator and instructor, and I welcome you. Watch the video below for an introductory message from me, and a big thank you. I’m excited about this course and what it can do for you and your senior years. 

VIDEO: Welcome to the Aging Well at Home Course


How This Course Began

AUDIO: How This Course Began

I got the idea for this course as my father-in-law descended into dementia in his 80s, beginning in 2013. His condition was mild initially – even some of his family members didn’t notice at first – and the single-story house he shared with his wife of 50+ years (my mother-in-law) worked fine for a while. Everything important was on the same ground floor, the house was in a gated community with services for clearing snow and cutting grass, and the place was relatively new and in great condition. All this was good at first, except for one thing. Aging doesn’t stop and neither does dementia. 

Slowly at first, then gathering speed, the house was getting less and less suitable. What if Dad gets up in the night and turns on the stove? What if he gets outside on his own and wanders off? How can the family cope with the ever-increasing stress of having to manage a person who needs more and more special household features, all while living in a house that doesn’t have them? The challenges certainly took its toll.

Eventually Dad’s condition outstripped the capabilities of the house to safely support him and he had to move into a nursing home, leaving Mom behind. Living apart was hard but it would have been completely unnecessary if upgrades and renovations had been completed earlier, before they were needed and while everyone involved was still able-bodied and sound of mind. Timing – that’s the trick that most people miss. You need to envision what you’ll need ahead of time, ideally when you’re still capable of doing the work yourself or supervising a professional to do it for you. Aiming ahead of the curve is the #1 name of the game, and since the need for equipping your home for seniors living is never urgent, it’s often ignored until the opportunity is gone. 

Making Things Different

AUDIO: Making Things Different

The main thing that stood out for me as I watched my parents-in-law’s home become less and less suitable for them was how different things could have been. The so-called “senior-friendly” single level home they moved into in that gated community seemed like a good start, but truth be told, it did them no good at all. In fact, they were worse off than if they had stayed in the large, two-storey home they raised their family in because the smaller place was much farther from family, and farther from sources of hired caregivers to help.

 As a building professional, I envisioned many practical, meaningful enhancements that could have been done to their house  – some simple, some more involved. So, what things could have been done to make the place more workable for my mother-in-law and also for the hired caregivers that became a bigger part of life as dementia rolled on with Dad? 

Some basics include:

  • an access ramp
  • tamper-proof stove
  • lockable cabinet doors
  • an emergency alert system
  • WIFI cameras
  • an accessible shower 
  • a porch lift

Enhancements like these and others would have made a world of difference to my parents-in-law, but we didn’t have time to put them in place. The progress of Dad’s aging and dementia was faster than we could complete upgrades, even with professional building help. And while there are always things to do to make your home better suited to aging, the sooner you begin this process the better. Now that Dad is gone and Mom is in the nursing home (and hating it) I can see how we should have looked further ahead than we did. Making changes sooner rather than later is one of the main things needed to make the most of aging at home. Our family has missed the opportunity, but you don’t have to.

With an understanding of what aging at home looks like for the unprepared, I work with forward-thinking seniors to make the vital changes in their home ahead of time. One such couple is Susan and Ian. They’re both able-bodied and in their seventies, but they realize they need to act now to make things better later. I have Susan and Ian’s permission to share their experiences here and there as part of this course. You’ll be hearing from them from time to time.

How To Use This Course

AUDIO: How To Use This Course

The aim with this course is to enable you to enjoy more senior years in your beloved home, and each of the three courses is divided into sections and lessons. Each section covers a specific general topic and you’ll find words, photos, illustrations and videos that do the teaching, all divided into topic-based lessons. The written material at the beginning of the course is duplicated in audio recordings too, so you can listen to the text content instead of reading, if you prefer. Many people find that reading and listening at the same time is the best way to learn.

In addition to these resources, you have one-on-one access to me as course creator and instructor. My role is to answer questions and offer my recommendations on how best to go about upgrading your particular home in particular ways. This one-on-one coaching may be the most important part of the program, so please make use of it. We can connect right here within the course interface or by email. We’ll be working at this together to the extent that you want to. You also have lifetime access to all course materials and to me, so there’s no rush to cover all the material. Take your time, (just not too much time – aging keeps on going!) 

Any questions so far? If so, then please make use of the outreach options within this course. If there are no questions yet,  then let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work with an important part of the program – taking a look at the challenges of aging. This background work is not technical, but it is vitally important.

Complete and Continue  

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