How Seniors Can Age in Community, and Age in Place, Safely

Seniors hands resting on lap

As we grow older, our housing and healthcare needs tend to shift. What you may not realize, though, is that your community needs can evolve as you age as well. You need access to certain resources in your community in order to age in place safely, but knowing what those resources are can be tricky. To make your aging-in-community plan less complicated, you can use the information below to sort through your community and housing options, and come up with a strategy that will help you maintain your health, your happiness and your quality of life.


Research Resources in Your Potential Communities

For seniors to age in place, certain community resources have to be available. These resources can include health services, senior aid organizations, and senior community centers. For example, many seniors need to get to doctor’s appointments, but many of these seniors are unable to drive themselves. With limited access to public transportation, this can severely limit seniors’ access to quality healthcare, and Medicare help is limited as well. In fact, Medicare coverage for transportation only extends to emergency and near-emergency services, which means you could be on your own for other transportation needs unless you opt into a Medicare Advantage plan that offers rideshare assistance. This can be a valuable resource for seniors and can make safe travel to health and wellness appointments much simpler.


Consider All of Your Options for Aging in Place at Home

The community around you can matter as you age, but so can the community in your own home. What does that mean exactly? Well, many seniors are turning to younger roommates in order to make aging in place at home more manageable. These savvy seniors are using roommate services and community movements to pair up with university students, who can provide financial assistance with housing costs but also prevent health issues associated with isolation. You can also reap the same benefit from roommates your own age, but either way you need to ensure your home is safe and comfortable for all. In terms of aging in place, that means making small but powerful changes, like evening out lighting to prevent falls and decluttering to reduce tripping hazards for seniors and residents of all ages.


Look for Retirement Communities That Support Your Lifestyle

Community can have so many meanings. For seniors who need additional assistance, searching for the right retirement community can be more beneficial than attempting to age in place in their current community. Retirement homes and communities have come a long way in recent years, and many offer additional amenities, such as pet-friendly housing and senior-friendly social activities. You should also look for a community that is in a good location for your needs and that can continue to be a good fit in the future. Not only can retirement homes give seniors access to daily assistance that can make life more manageable, but these communities can also boost senior health by providing consistent social connection. So, don’t rule out the possibility of aging in place within a senior retirement community.


Keep Yourself Prepared for Future Long-Term Care Needs

If you settle down in the right community, you may be able to age in place for some time. Having access to services and connections to others can reduce the risk for many senior health issues, like isolation and falls. Still, long-term care statistics show that you will likely need a more concentrated form of care in the future. Up to 35% of all seniors will need to stay in a nursing home for at least one year, and many more will need to access other forms of long-term care, such as in-home assistance or an assisted living facility. So, while it’s smart to research your aging-in-community options, it’s vital to plan for your long-term care needs, so that you can ensure these communities will be accessible when needed. Being able to age in community can preserve your health and quality of life. You can always make changes to your home, but it can be much more difficult to make changes to your community. So, make sure yours fits you, now and in the future.


Photo Credit: Pexels

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