26 Mar Aging in Community Equates to Smart Solutions for Seniors
As you look to the future, are you thinking about ways to stay happy, healthy, and connected? Aging in a community can be a perfect solution for many seniors, and there are ways to tailor your options to your needs. Read on to learn more about some of these clever and diverse housing opportunities available to older adults.
Why communities matter
There are plenty of great reasons seniors should consider community-oriented solutions when deciding on their future lifestyles, and in a nutshell, it comes down to avoiding isolation.
While at first glance it might seem that the sole benefit of avoiding isolation is to stay engaged with others, Leisure Care explains senior isolation is an issue that can go much deeper than that. It appears that the loneliness that comes with becoming isolated can accelerate cognitive decline, contribute to high blood pressure, increase symptoms of depression, and put you at increased risk for unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as substance abuse and poor eating habits. It could even shorten your life.
Getting around town
Beyond basic health concerns and the pleasure of staying engaged, there are some other important benefits that can go hand-in-hand with community-oriented lifestyle choices. For instance, many older adults have to stop driving or limit their road time to daylight hours. While Medicare covers emergency and near-emergency transportation to hospitals, it doesn’t help with other necessities, like getting to medical appointments or other travels.
One transportation option for seniors is to explore Medicare Advantage. Many Medicare Advantage plans connect seniors with ride-sharing services to help them get to appointments. Another option is to check with the medical facility itself and local faith organizations. And there are many other ride-sharing services to make it easier for seniors to get around.
Another idea is to move to an assisted living community. These are professionally run organizations that focus on helping seniors with various daily tasks. Maybe driving is an issue, or feeding yourself isn’t as easy as it used to be, but you still have plenty of get-up-and-go, and enjoy your independence. You don’t need to sacrifice your independence and self-sufficiency to get the help you need, as these communities have staff and services to complement whatever you are able to do.
Sharing and caring
Beyond professional facilities, seniors are finding innovative solutions for their isolation and transportation concerns: each other. For instance, WBUR explains getting a roommate is a simple and effective method for cutting costs, adding companionship, and reducing your workload. For instance, if one of you doesn’t drive, maybe the other does – and if neither do, splitting the costs involved with paying for transportation can alleviate financial stress.
Taking things up a notch, some seniors are building grassroots villages to support one another. They collect in an area, enlist local volunteers, pool funds and skills, and even pay a few staff members to provide certain services, such as lawn care and medical assistance. This way, they maintain their independence without sacrificing quality of life, and they stay connected – both with each other and the rest of their community.
No matter what solution you decide on, a safe, comfortable place to live is a must-have, and a traditionally designed home can be fraught with hazards. However, just like the creative ways seniors are finding for their living arrangements, they also have some creative solutions for making a home more senior-friendly.
As an example, seniors who use a walker or wheelchair might be busting knuckles on standard door frames. However, by installing offset hinges, they add the extra space necessary for comfortable clearance. Similarly, aging hands sometimes struggle with rounded doorknobs and faucet handles, but lever-style handles can make operation a breeze. This guide can help you think through some other options available.
If you need to make more extensive home modifications, you may want to consider cash-out refinancing. This option replaces your current mortgage with a new loan, and homeowners get the difference in cash. Before a cash-out refinance, consider how much equity you have in your home and if your new mortgage payments will be affordable.
Whatever your circumstances, there is a solution out there to help you age in place and stay connected in your community. Think through your options, needs, and living environment, and make changes to promote your well-being. Aging can be tough, but with friends gathered around and some clever solutions, you can savor every moment in comfort and safety.
This article is guest written by Hazel Bridges. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]