Aging in community

May 2, 2015

Aging in community is “aging in place” with the benefit of the feeling of connection to neighbors, friends and/or family. There is familiarity with surroundings, a feeling of independence, comfort, convenience and safety. Usually the community is one in which the senior has lived for many years or where family members and/or friends are close by. Ideally this community has members of all ages.

So, what’s so great about aging in community? Well, the most obvious benefit is connection. Connection with family, friends, peers, and younger members of the community through shared interests. These connections are usually “informal, voluntary and reciprocal and therefore, sustainable over time” (Kretzmann and McKnight, 1993). The connections lead to the building of relationships/interdependence within the community, a healthy situation for everyone involved. With interdependence comes the sense of identity, independence and safety for elders. Aging in community allows the senior choices about where and how they live.

The entire community stands to benefit from seniors “aging in place”. The older adult can serve as a mentor as well as volunteer, something about half of the people 65 years and older do on a regular basis. Volunteering offers both financial savings for the community and positive role modeling for younger members. Older adults tend to be concerned about their community as well, and are more likely to buy locally and invest financially in areas of interest.

Communal living situations are growing throughout the country and well as co-housing arrangements. While aging in community requires planning to allow for changes in health, mobility, and socialization, bringing services into the home can accommodate most changes. Check out this wonderful resource, The Village to Village Network at www.vtvnetwork.org for information about growing opportunities to allow for aging in place.

How long can a senior stay at home or in a community? Look at the home front mind map for indications of when it is time to find a different living arrangement.

read comments ( 0 )