Aging in Place vs. Aging in the Right Place

aging in place

“I’m not entitled to have an opinion unless I can state the arguments against my position better than the people who are in opposition. I think that I am qualified to speak only when I’ve reached that state.”

~ Charlie Munger


Aging in place

I was asked recently to talk with a relative newcomer to environmental gerontology about the aging in place concept. He is a retired professional, in his 80s,  and will soon be presenting at a global conference. Before our talk on the phone, I designed a framework concerning two main hot topic issues surrounding aging in place on social media currently. I included some of the thinkers on the side of “aging in the right place” and others on the side of aging in place. This was not intended to be an “us vs. them” framework; again we are all working towards solutions to a global issue on aging.

Proponents (a few) for aging in the RIGHT place (aka against aging in place TRADITONALY)

Ryan Frederick

“Right Place Right Time” book

Ryan doesn’t like the term “Aging in Place” and says so animatedly in his book beginning on page 11.

Stephen M. Golant, Ph.D

Golant is a leading national speaker, author, and researcher on the housing, mobility, transportation, and long-term care needs of older adult populations. He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, a Fulbright Senior Scholar award recipient, and a Professor at the University of Florida. Golant’s latest book is Aging in The Right Place, published by Health Professions Press. Contact him at [email protected]

Howard Glickman

Is the author of the book “Caring for Our Parents” and senior fellow at The Urban Institute, where I am affiliated with the Tax Policy Center and the Program on Retirement Policy. I also write a tax and budget policy blog, TaxVox, which you may read at or at Before joining Urban, I was a senior correspondent in the Washington bureau of Business Week


Some of Their main arguments:

  1. Social Isolation with traditional aging in place “The architecture of Isolation”
  1. Maintaining home repair costs/remodeling costs
  2. only 1-4% of homes have “Visitability” features 1) Non-barrier entrance 2) Bathroom/bedroom on the main 3) 36” doorways
  3. Lack of qualified caregivers / Costs of in-home help rising
  4. Lack of transportation with traditional suburban homes (auto-dependent)
  5. Increasing home values = Increased tax burden
  6. Burden on family members for care
  7. Older people will resist Remodeling
  1. 70% OF Boomers live in suburbs or rural areas (Isolating)


I can’t argue with any of this BTW!

Aging in Place is a Crisis Buy, that is, done under duress most of the time because of a lack of planning ahead.

Arguments for Aging in Place

Proponents (a few) for Aging in Place

Harry Rick Moody Ph.D., co-author of Aging: Concepts and Controversies a book structured to encourage a style of teaching and learning that goes beyond conveying facts and methods. This innovative text focuses on controversies and questions rather than on assimilating facts or creating a single “correct” view about aging or older people. Drawing on their extensive expertise, authors Harry R. Moody and Jennifer R. Sasser first provides an overview of aging in three domains: aging over the life course, health care, and socioeconomic trends. Each section then includes data and conceptual frameworks, helping readers to make sense of the controversies and understand their origin, engage in critical thinking, and develop their own views. The Tenth Edition of this hallmark textbook includes amplified discussions focused on differences, diversity, structural inequalities, and inclusion, as well as contemporary issues, including climate change and immigration.

​Patrick Roden

Scott Fulton President NAIPC

Louis Tenenbaum Homes Renewed / Working for Policy change

Laurie Orlov Aging in Place Tech

Keren Etkin

The Benefits

My website has many posts on the benefits

USC The Value of Aging in Place

Benefits of Aging in Place: 


In so many cases it’s “Follow the Money” in these arguments (*academics aside). I always ask myself what do the parties have to gain by taking a certain stance on the topic? Most of the time it boils down to two camps: 1) the LTC industry wants you to buy into the Sun City / active senior model or 2) In-home care providers favor aging in place at home. You will notice this play out over and over. That is the free marketplace at work.

In a perfect world, we all could sell our un-age-friendly homes and jet off to the “Right” place where the sun is always shinning, we are all like-minded, no crime, no stress, leisure 24/7, community, green spaces everywhere, all have financial means and high education levels, all needs are inclusively met…But that’s not the reality. It’s aspirational and worthy of pursuit, but for now, I’m in the trenches like a public health professional meeting people where they are.

All of us who favor aging in place also favor aging in the Right Place; however, most people don’t prepare (for a number of systems issues) and will be aging in less-than-optimal environments. Therefore, you must work where people are and with policy changes at local and national levels. That’s the less glamorous work.

Having outlined this, I do not wish to frame it as an either/or factional representation of the aging in place. We are all on the same team when it comes to making the world a better place to age in.  I hope this helps outline and provide some theoretical scaffolding of some of the issues (as I see them).




*There are those who are sincerely studying the issues and researching for optimal outcomes for older adults and are not profit-motivated.


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