Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash
Aging in place means soaking in the feel of my kitty’s warmth next to me as I sleep. It means the overpowering fragrance of star jasmine that drifts into the living room from the patio in the summer and the stunning beauty of bright yellow ginkgo leaves on my patio in the fall. Staying put in my townhouse also means the irritation of the two 12-year-old girls who don’t think I see them as they ring my doorbell and run away.
Aging in place means being able to kid myself that I still cook, entertain, and, for the most part, walk around my house with little clothing and not offend anyone. Aging in place means playing loud music and getting up to watch a royal wedding at two in the morning without bothering anyone.
The vast majority
According to AARP, nearly 90 percent of adults over 65 want to remain in their current homes as they grow older. As with me, these older adults have a strong desire to maintain connections to their communities and their friends, with whom they might lose contact if they were to relocate.
Continuing to live in their homes enables older adults to make social interactions part of their daily lives. Since having an active social life helps prevent dementia, maintaining community connections and important friendships can contribute to better health and higher quality of life. I’m all for that!
Aging in place is critical to my well-being — at least for right now.
I love my home and my community. I know the routine here, and I’m located smack in the middle of shopping, friends, and other resources to make my life a good one.
For right now, my identity is tied up in being independent in my own home. Thank goodness I have options, one of which is The Council on Aging, an organization within my county that provides myriad services for senior citizens. The Council provides (for a fee, of course) legal, home care (from food to gardening), and social programs that will help me stay in my home longer than I might otherwise. While I don’t personally have family that could assist me in staying put, a lot of my friends have relatives who will check up on them and provide whatever support they need.
Seniors who wish to stay in their homes longer have a growing amount of resources that will support their desire. These resources include home-sharing options, respite care, distance medical monitoring, and new technology that will contact emergency services should you need help.
When the time comes
There probably will come a day when watering plants, navigating stairs and outdoor steps, and dealing with home repairs will become too much for me, even if I have outside help. I can see the day when my home will be less welcoming, and a change to my current living arrangements may be required. What a move out of my home will look like isn’t clear at this point. For right now, I’m focusing on doing what I can to stay home – in this home with my kitty, plants, friends, loud music, and even the annoyance of pre-teens playing pranks.
What are your plans for staying put or not as you age?