Most seniors want to remain in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. If you are of a similar mindset, take some time to learn how aging in community can help you fulfill this wish. Aging in community is a way for seniors to benefit from the services and support of their neighbors and community members instead of depending on institutionalized care. While this is a great alternative to traditional senior care, it takes some careful planning. Here’s how to ensure that your community will offer the support you need for a high quality of life.
Obtaining Reliable Transportation
According to Forbes, isolation is a common problem facing seniors who live alone, especially when they’re no longer able to drive. Ensure that you will have access to reliable transportation in your future. You will need to be able to get around at specific times to attend things like doctor’s appointments and social engagement opportunities. While Medicare only covers emergency transportation services, many Medicare Advantage plans partner with ride-sharing services to offer seniors accessible transportation assistance. If you find that you need more control over your transportation, switching to a Medicare Advantage plan may be a good idea.
Finding Affordable Housing
Seniors no longer have to choose between moving in with family, staying in their homes alone, or moving into a long-term care facility. According to the AARP, seniors have plenty of affordable housing options in their own communities. Community housing options give seniors greater control over their lives. Cohousing, for example, allows seniors to live in private units and share common spaces like large dining rooms or yards. Seniors can also benefit from having senior roommates move in with them to offset living expenses and provide companionship. Another option is to move into a Village community. Villages are communities in which neighbors, volunteers, and paid staff help senior residents with the care and services they need.
Staying Safe in Your Home
If you want to age in place, it’s important to make certain home modifications so you can remain independent and secure. According to McMaster Optimal Aging, home adaptations can help seniors feel more confident living alone. Seniors who live in accessible homes can perform their daily activities independently and rely less on family caregivers and in-home care. Some home modifications that you may want to prioritize include installing non-slip floors, bright lighting, lever faucets, and bathroom grab bars. And don’t forget accessibility upgrades to your home’s exterior. Adding railings to outdoor stairs will allow you to safely enter and leave your home. Other changes, for example adding a fence, provide added safety and allow you to have a protected outdoor space, which will help you thrive for years to come. Be sure to search “affordable fence company near me” and review online ratings to make sure you hire a trustworthy fencing contractor.
Forging Social Connections
Socialization is a key aspect of healthy aging. Developing strong social connections can lower your overall risk of depression and high blood pressure. Not only that, but regular social engagement is a gentle encouragement to practice self-care. Reach out to others in your neighborhood and connect with people who share your interests. You may be able to band people together to form a naturally occurring retirement community in your area. If you're having trouble meeting people, get on social media to find people in your city who would be interested in joining you for outings or group hobbies. Building up a strong social circle in your local area is an important step in preparing for a future of aging in community.
Turning to Professional Care
Many seniors find that aging in a more professional setting offers greater peace of mind, comfort, stability, and safety than in a community or village. In a local nursing home or independent living facility, you can have the cooking, housekeeping, and laundry completed by professional staff, and there are plenty of opportunities to socialize in your new community. Nursing homes and independent living facilities can be expensive so research San Diego options thoroughly to get the best combination of pricing and amenities for your needs.
Aging in community is becoming a popular trend among the senior population. More and more people are looking for ways to bring community members together and develop a culture of interdependence. By offering support and assistance to each other, seniors no longer have to face the challenges of living alone.
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