by Hazel Bridges, creator of AgingWellness.org
The World Health Organization projects that the number of persons age 65 or more will grow from some 524 million in 2010 to 1.5 billion by 2050. As the global population gets older, people are beco
ming more concerned with how to support healthy and happy seniors. “Aging in community” is one popular option. This approach combats harmful isolation by rallying communities around older adults. Find out how it works below.
Consider Community-Based Housing Options
Living with roommates used to be viewed as something only for college kids. Now, however, people over 50 are increasingly finding comfort and community by living together. Some people are actually calling it the Golden Girls trend, and a term has even been established for Baby Boomer roommates: boommates.
An assisted living community, where you have your own space but are surrounded by individuals of a similar age, is another option. You can also consider so-called village models. These villages empower older adults to age in place by creating a close-knit community where volunteers and trained professionals provide support, from arranging group activities to handling errands.
These options not only allow for more affordable living, but they also encourage socialization. Isolation has been shown to lead to loneliness and depression in seniors. So, whatever arrangement you choose, take advantage of your community. Sip tea with your roommate or participate in activities at your assisted living facility.
Take Your Transportation Requirements Into Account
When considering which of the above options is best for you, don’t forget to factor in transportation requirements. While Medicare Parts A and B do cover some emergency transport, they won’t help for a simple trip to the doctor’s office for a checkup. If you no longer drive yourself, this presents a real hurdle. Consider switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage scheme. Some of these plans cover trips to the doctor and even partner with local rideshare services for ease of use. Visit the United States government’s Medicare portal to learn how to sign up for, drop, or switch to an Advantage plan.
Evaluate Personal Preferences Beyond Your Basic Needs
Of course, you need to consider practical elements such as cost, transportation, and medical care when choosing a retirement home for your golden years. You should also consider personal preferences beyond these basics, however. Take location, for instance: Would you like to be near friends or family to allow for easier visits?
Also, take into account your personal passions — maintaining enjoyable, meaningful hobbies is important as you age. Maybe you are interested in an assisted living that offers courses, whether it’s yoga for seniors or therapeutic painting. Or, perhaps you have a dog you want to keep and are interested in moving to a retirement home.
Think of the Future
Even if you are still fully independent and not in need of any daily assistance, consider the future. You may require help with medications or transportation down the line. Moving gets tougher with age. Doing it now will spare you the task when your mobility may be more limited and the transition more difficult.
The possibilities for aging in community discussed above are versatile in many ways. For instance, many assisted living facilities are directly linked to nursing homes, where you can move when more hands-on care is needed. If you move to a village, you can always ramp up your dependence on the community according to your needs.
Whatever you choose, frame your move positively. Surrounding yourself with a network that feeds both practical and social needs is a step toward creating a happy future. When you have the physical and emotional support you need in aging, you can enjoy peace of mind and focus on simply enjoying life.
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