Aging Well, Like Raising a Child,
Takes a Village
Thousands of Americans reach retirement age
every day. They are Baby Boomers, and they, more than any generation before,
want to remain in their own space throughout their senior years. However, being
completely independent is not always possible. Thankfully, there are many
alternatives to help seniors age not just in place but in community, where they
will have access to support and services for all of their years. Here’s what
you should know courtesy of Boomers Retirement.
Aging in Community?
Aging in community is simply the idea of
staying as self-sufficient as possible while taking advantage of tools to
remain healthy and safe. Dr. Bill Thomas explains that aging in place becomes
more about utilizing social capital and less on financial
World Around You
One of the biggest obstacles for older adults
is transportation. If it is no longer safe for you to drive, you may need to
consider other ways you can get around. While it’s true that Medicare can get
you to the hospital in case of an emergency or near-emergency, it does not
offer services to get you back and forth from regular doctors appointments or
for other errands that you have to run. Medicare Advantage, however, plans
often do provide transportation coverage. So, make a point to review your
current policy and make any changes necessary to ensure that you receive all of
the benefits you may need as you age.
Another significant issue is the affordability
of living alone. Consider looking for a 50-plus roommate to help keep costs
down. There are plenty of widows and divorcees who would rather share a home
than to struggle physically and financially. Mother Nature Network contributor
Starre Vartan notes that there are services that can pair you with a like-minded Boomer roomie. Before you take
this step, make sure to perform a thorough background check on anyone with whom you are
considering sharing your living space.
Now that you’ve taken care of transportation
and affordability, you will also want to bear in mind the livability of your
property. Being safe at home may require making a few modifications to
compensate for mobility, cognitive, or vision impairments. Added lighting along
the stairs, grab bars in the bathroom, and wider doorways
can all help. Caregiver support site DailyCaring goes into a great deal of
details on how to modify your home room-by-room in this guide.
Carefully consider what safety improvements
you can make outdoors as well. For instance, cracks in your walkway should be
filled, and loose planks in your stairs should be replaced. If you’ve got a
tree or large branch that’s in danger of falling on your home, you’ll want to
get it removed. As you search for “tree
work near me,” it’s always a good idea to read testimonials from
past customers. Sites like Angi offer customer feedback and can inform you of
any tree removal services offering discounts in your area. Always ask for an
estimate and referrals before hiring.
Village Is Vast
More than just relying on your friends,
family, and Medicare amenities, many areas now offer senior-specific networks
known as a village model. A village model is essentially a network of older
adults who look out for one another. Instead of being independent, those within
a village community model are interdependent.
They rely on one another for support and often have a single coordinator, who
is a paid employee, that can do things like schedule get-togethers and even
screen contractors. Perhaps the biggest benefit of a village community is that
it can stave off isolation, which is a common issue that contributes to
depression, alcoholism, and even suicide within the senior community.
No matter where you or your aging loved one
chooses to live in their senior years, you should all know that you have
options. While independent and assisted living homes are certainly a valuable
asset for those who need hands-on help, aging in place and within your own
community is an affordable and enjoyable alternative that makes sense for many
seniors. Before you make a decision, do your research and know the pros and
cons of each option.
Image via Pexels