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Transitions in Aging

Aging in Place

Scenario #1: Joseph

Photo of an older man with a satisfied smile

  • Age: 84
  • Type of developmental disability: Autism spectrum disorder
  • Type of residence: Independent home with spouse
  • Difficulty with getting up and down the stairs

NEXT: Scenario #2: Catherine

Notes and References

I would like to introduce you to Joseph. At age 84, Joseph is retired and is alone most days while his wife (age 75) is at work.

He uses a rolling walker to navigate his home (at the most Joseph is able to walk 100 meters at a time or the length of a football field) due to having a herniated disk in his back. Joseph enjoys his morning coffee and pastry on the front porch of his home in a suburb outside of Philadelphia. He takes a mid-morning nap and spends the rest of his day watching his favorite TV shows or working with his collection of antiques in the garage.

Joseph is able to take care of himself, however he needs the assistance of his wife to get up and down the stairs in his home. His wife will assist him in getting to the main level of their house before she leaves for work. Then, Joseph will do everything and remain on the main floor until his wife gets home from work. Sometimes he gets frustrated as there are things in his bedroom, located on the second floor, that he needs throughout the day, and he has to wait for his wife to get home! Joseph could really benefit from a bedroom on the first floor of his house. With a bedroom on the first floor of his house, Joseph can live completely independently, and if Joseph's wife experiences difficulty climbing stairs in the future, she will not have to worry about getting up the stairs to their bedroom. Also, in the bedroom, the bed should be arranged to allow easy access; throw rugs/pillows and other hazardous objects should be removed from the floor; and clothing and medicine should be easily accessible.