Aging in place is a term you’ve likely heard about as a senior, but aging in community might be a new one. As Women for Living in Community puts it, “Community is not only a viable alternative to aging in a facility but it is also a complementary movement to aging in place.” Think of it as a support network, whether it is a neighborhood of similarly aged individuals or a home setup similar to that of The Golden Girls. If aging in community is your true desire, these housing options and services will help you do it.
The home and community you chose in your younger years checked all the boxes, but what about now? Before you fret about having to pack up and move, take a good look at your surroundings and the features that make it an
For example, is the neighborhood safe? Are there outlets for socializing?
What about safe transportation? As a senior, you might not know that Medicare doesn’t cover transportation to the doctor, but some Medicare Advantage plans do by partnering with ride-sharing services. Before you get stuck without a ride, consider switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.
As someone exploring their housing options, a retirement community has likely come up, but that means you’d have to move. A “senior village” remedies that dilemma, allowing seniors to stay in their homes, while also providing a safe and friendly space to age. The local senior village , Westside Pacific Villages*, defines it nicely: a village isn’t a physical location or a retirement home, but rather “networks of local volunteers, staff and community partners that help members stay engaged in their neighborhoods by providing a wide array of services and programs.” The village movement is growing in popularity, with over 300 villages throughout the US, and it is steadily becoming a sustainable long-term solution for those seniors seeking to age in place with a little help.
If you’ve watched The Golden Girls, you’ve seen for yourself the benefit of having senior
roommates — emotional support, physical assistance, socialization, and someone to speak up when they notice something isn’t right. You’ll also save money by splitting living expenses, and you may find that you have a sense of security knowing you always have someone nearby should you need help getting to the store or begin feeling lonely. Whether you have an extra room for rent or are seeking a room, there are online resources available to assist you. One local option is Affordable Living for the Aging located in Los Angeles, in addition to shared housing with a wider geographic reach such as Senior Homeshares.
No matter what resource you use, exercise caution, and never go along with something you aren’t 100 percent comfortable with. The right service (and match) will work with you every step of the way and provide you with a sense of comfort. Also, keep in mind that whether you are renting out your home, moving in with a roommate, or joining a village, you might need to make some aging-in-place modifications. These 50 tips from senior living experts (courtesy of Caregiver Homes) will get you in the right mindset and put you on the right track to making your home a space for safe and independent living.
Aging in place and aging in community are an excellent complement to one another and are options you should consider.