Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Aging Well, Like Raising a Child, Takes a Village


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.


What is 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 stability.


The 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.


Safety at Home


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.


The 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.


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