‘Aging in community’ is not a novel idea; up until the turn of the 20th century, the majority of people throughout the world lived their entire lives within just a few miles of where they were born. Nursing homes in the sense we think of them today did not exist, and adult children and grandchildren provided the majority care for their aging relatives. Today, aging in community can mean many different things, from living in your own home to putting down roots in a neighborhood designed especially for seniors.

Regardless of where you choose to live, if your goal is to remain independent, there are things you can do to support yourself as you navigate the challenges that come along with age.

Getting Around

Getting from place to place can become an issue in our senior years. There are many reasons (hearing and vision problems, stiff joints and muscles, etc.) that an older person may no longer be able to safely drive themselves to the grocery store, doctor’s office, or other location. And although Original Medicare does provide some emergency transport services, it doesn’t provide any benefits for getting to anywhere other than the ER. However, many Medicare Advantage plans do provide coverage for transportation via a partnership with popular ride sharing services. If you find that driving has become a challenge for you, simply switching to a different insurance plan can partially alleviate the issue.

Affordability

It will come as no surprise to hear that seniors often fall short of being able to afford a comfortable retirement. With a median household income of just more than $35,000, paying for a mortgage, groceries, and home upkeep is often a significant struggle. This is where aging-in-community options can be so helpful. You are not alone in your quest to remain independent, and their many services, such as Silvernest, that can help you find a roommate with whom to share expenses. Other ways to cut costs include reducing your cable subscription service, eliminating your home phone, and reaching out to local organizations or family members to provide meals a few times each week.

Organized Aging

Living independently does not have to mean staying put in your current home. There are many retirement communities that allow you to enjoy the best of having a structured living environment and the freedom to live on your own terms. Modern Retirement’s guide on choosing a retirement home goes into greater detail. A key point to keep in mind is to look for a community that meets your needs today and in the future. Many retirement communities are pet-friendly, for example, meaning you do not have to give up your best furry friend. Others focus on outdoor activities and are designed to promote socialization.

Safe at Home

If you choose to remain in your own private residence, there are things that you and your family can do to ensure that you stay safe. Performing a home evaluation is a good start, and it can help you identify any potential problems, such as steep stairs or unreachable cabinets. Your community also has many resources, including Friend to Friend America, a volunteer organization that recruits caring individuals to visit local seniors. Sometimes, having an outside party pay you a quick visit a few times each week can keep you safe. They can also pay attention to things like your weight, hygiene, and home cleanliness, which might indicate underlying health issues that you haven’t noticed.

These are your senior years, and you deserve to relish them on your own terms. From living at home with a roommate to heading to a senior-oriented community, there are many ways to age without isolation and to enjoy the unrestricted freedom of retirement.

Image Via Pexels

Guest Blog Post by Hazel Bridges
agingwellness.org