How Thriving Seniors Are Saying Goodbye to Isolation and Hello to Aging in Community
Many middle-income Baby Boomers are rethinking how they will spend their golden years. Most watched as their parents stayed in their home with the help of caregivers before transitioning to a nursing home later in life.
The social isolation of seniors who remain in their homes is frightening and unhealthy. An incredible 43 percent of seniors ages 65 and older report regularly feeling lonely. Research shows that social isolation can lead to problems with anxiety, blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and cognitive decline.
Below are ways that seniors can help avoid the dangers of isolation.
As Baby Boomers struggle with rising prices and stagnant wages, they seek new alternatives for senior living. Among the latest trends is the example of house sharing. Not only does this provide companionship, but it also helps with living expenses. What’s more, seniors are also more likely to feel safe with another person in the home.
Finding the right roommate is important for a successful partnership. Develop a contract with an exit clause in case either of the roommates wants out. Issues of privacy and ownership, which are common problems with roommates of all ages, can lead to stressful living arrangements. By having the contract in place, you’ll be better prepared if the arrangement doesn’t work.
Village to Village Network
Another model taking shape in the world of senior living is the Village to Village Network. This membership-based network connects volunteers with isolated seniors. The volunteers assist with such needs as transportation and home repair.
Described by researchers as a promising new model, the Village to Village Network positively impacts seniors by reducing their isolation while remaining at home. Run by paid staff and volunteers, this grass-roots movement is gaining momentum among Baby Boomers seeking alternative options for their senior years.
Aging in Place Modifications and Apps
Many seniors choose to age in place. Perhaps they do not want to leave their familiar home or they simply aren’t ready to transition to another place. Aging in place is possible with a few simple home modifications. For example, with falls of special concern for seniors, replacing any hazardous flooring is an important first step. Torn carpet, throw rugs, or damaged linoleum create dangerous opportunities for experiencing a fall. If you need to replace the flooring, expect to pay around $1,500 to $4,500.
Handrails and brighter lighting are helpful modifications, along with security systems and smartphone technology that helps the caregiver to monitor the home. Introducing your loved one to a smartphone is a great way to stay in touch. Seniors enjoy learning apps that make their life easier, like magnifiers or pulse monitoring, and that make life fun, like games and puzzles.
If for any reason you’re unable to make the necessary modifications to your home, and you would still prefer to age in place, then you may consider downsizing to a more manageable home that can accommodate the upgrades. Go online and research the local housing market to get an idea of how much it would cost to downsize. The sale price of homes in Vancouver currently averages $354,000.
Finding the Right Community
While some people enjoy living alone, as human beings, we are by nature social creatures. As we age and isolation begins to set in, we can easily become depressed and anxious. Aging in community, village networks, shared housing, and aging in place all have their advantages and disadvantages. When searching for a community, Modern Retirement notes that you should find what works best for you, which involves careful consideration about any pets you have, how much privacy there is, and how well you interact with those around you.
Keep location in mind when deciding which option is best. Are there parks and libraries nearby, and is it close to friends and family? Careful consideration to even the simplest details is important for choosing your next home.
As new and creative models for senior living continue to develop, there is hope on the horizon for fewer seniors in isolation and more in thriving communities. This is especially encouraging for seniors who no longer drive and rely on others for transportation.
Senior living has come a long way from the standard nursing home. There are now vibrant ways to spend your senior years that result in a better quality of life. No matter which model you choose, you will find better peace of mind knowing that there are choices out there and that isolation doesn’t need a place in your future.
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