How Seniors Can Take Advantage of the 'Aging in Community' Trend
By Hazel Bridges
“When granted many years of life, growing old in age is natural, but growing old with grace is a choice,” according to the late famous preacher, Billy Graham. In order to grow old gracefully, you must prepare for it. One of the most important aspects of your senior years is deciding where you want to age. Read on to see how the popular aging in community method can work for you.
What is Aging in Community?
Baby Boomers watched their parents get older, and some weren’t impressed by the living options they would soon have to choose from for themselves. Before the aging in community concept, you could either age in place, live with a family member or move into an assisted living facility.
Instead of relying on a sole family member, facing the challenges that come with living alone, or moving into a heavily regulated facility, you can live around a community of others facing the same challenges you are. Aging in community is a member-directed system of supporting one another as everyone ages, allowing members to draw “on reservoirs of social capital,” according to Changing Aging.
What Does This Look Like?
Now that you know the motivation behind this alternative living solution, you might wonder what it looks like in practice. There are a few different ways the goal of aging in community can be achieved.
Shared housing and pocket neighborhoods are a couple of straightforward implementations that require little effort outside of finding a roommate or someone in your existing community to coordinate with. Plus, you can save money in the long run by going this route. If you decide to find a roommate, a bit of effort will cut back on your living expenses, provide companionship and allow you to remain self-reliant.
No Matter What, Make Sure You Age Safely
With some of your savings, you can go ahead and make home modifications as needed. Maybe you don’t need help in and out of the tub or shower right now, but a grab bar (can be found for under $20) might save you from a fall in the future. Consider hiring a contractor that specializes in senior home modifications to point out something you might overlook.
If you live in a home full of stairs and have more room than you’ll ever need, consider downsizing and finding a new place with only one level. Research prices of homes in the area and what they’re selling for to ensure you’ll come out on top. For example, homes in Leesport have been selling for $200,000 on average over the past month, according to Redfin.
Village-to-Village Aging in Community
You join a village community, you join a “grassroots solution that’s governed by its members.” A village community is designed for older adults seeking interdependence. Everyone lends a hand if someone else is in need, and the community provides services like transportation, recreational activities, educational activities and more to all residents. You can stay connected to other village members and retain a sense of companionship with others, ages 50 and up, via social events each community plans throughout the year.
Hundreds of these villages are scattered across the U.S., from California to Massachusetts, so take your pick. The Village to Village Network is the nonprofit organization behind most of these villages, and you can consult their map to find a village in your area.
You cannot stop the aging process, but you can age gracefully surrounded by as much or as little support as you like. Living in a community can not only provide you with the help you need, it can also eliminate the harmful effects of senior isolation. Whether you decide to age in place, downsize, find a roommate, or join a village, there are ample opportunities for you to take advantage of aging in community.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.