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How Can “Aging in Community” Benefit You?

“Aging in community” refers to a living model designed to provide senior citizens with the everyday practical and emotional support they need to thrive. It has become increasingly popular in the past decade as social scientists have come to recognize the value that socially networked communities play in creating an enjoyable quality of life for older adults. If you’re a senior who wants to remain in your community, read on to find out what lifestyle options you have available to you.

Choose a model that suits your style

There are various options available when it comes to aging in community. One possibility that is becoming trendy is to get a roommate. If you have a large family house, you likely no longer need the kids’ rooms kept intact. Having a friendly senior in your age range move in means you have someone to chat and dine with. If you have an accident, the other person is on hand to call for emergency assistance. Finally, the rent money can help cover maintenance costs for your property, as well as utilities and other home-owner fees.

Another option is the “village” model. In this case, a community of independently living seniors pay an annual membership fee to join. This money goes towards shared resources like cleaners, handymen, gardeners, and drivers. The village has a director to organize and schedule these services. Such practical advantages are far from the main draw, however; as CityLab explains, “Many of the benefits of life in a village are less tangible—members say, above all, villages forge a sense of community”.

Another possibility is co-housing. In this scheme, a cluster of private homes is linked by a shared space, such as gardens and recreational areas. Each person has their own private property but also has the option to collaborate with neighbors, whether it’s for a gardening project or a barbecue. Again, one of the major benefits of this model is the sense of belonging it brings to residents.

Take affordability into account

When choosing from the above models, keep costs in mind. If you plan to stay in your home and bring in roommates, senior-friendly modifications may be needed to ensure everyone’s comfort. These could include adding a walk-in shower and raised toilet seat in the bathroom, as well as adjusting the height of the kitchen sink to accommodate wheelchair users. If any complete renovations need to be done, consider the average costs to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay—a kitchen renovation, for example, averages from $8,500 to $25,000. If you aren’t purchasing a new property, it’s still a good idea to factor in these costs.

If you do plan to move to a different house, neighborhood, and/or city, do your research regarding the affordability of different areas. Housing search engines give you a fast and broad overview of what prices look like. For example, over the past month, homes in Central Square were selling for an average of $218,000.

Downsize your belongings before you go

When it comes to downsizing, you’ll probably have to make do with less space. For instance, if you have roommates coming in, you will have to share the living space with them. If you buy a new house, you will likely get a smaller one, since you don’t need to accommodate children. Whatever the case may be, trim down on your belongings before you go. This guide on downsizing for seniors offers a comprehensive checklist, including points like digitizing photos and giving away sentimental legacy gifts now instead of with an inheritance.

As you downsize, focus on the positives of your impending move: Aging in community encourages valuable social contact you may otherwise be missing. A lack of personal interaction has been shown to worsen feelings of solitude among seniors and can even lead to depression. You don’t want to deal with these mental struggles during your golden years; you want to enjoy them! By embracing aging in community, you are setting yourself up for a fantastic future.

Photo Credit:

Joan Sardino

Joan Sardino has held key positions in operations management, customer service and logistics. Her mission today is to empower seniors to live independently in their homes for as long as possible. Joan oversees a staff of experienced, patient caregivers dedicated to senior care and companionship. Serving Seniors provides service to the senior community in Syracuse and the surrounding area (Clay, Cicero, Liverpool, Baldwinsville, Central Square).

Most seniors can live independent lives for quite some time with just minor assistance. Family and friends cannot always be there to help with daily tasks, but Serving Seniors can help fill the need for transportation, errands, housekeeping, and more. Just a few hours a week can enhance your senior’s independence, happiness and overall quality of life.

Joan assists concerned families seeking a trained caregiver who will treat their loved ones with dignity, respect and compassion. Serving Seniors provides the highest level in-home non-medical care and companionship. Families and seniors can be assured of friendly, personalized service from dedicated, compassionate caregivers.