Over 85% of Boomers surveyed say that they wish to Age in Place. But how many of us have really thought about “how” we will achieve this goal, and “where” the place will be?
Some boomers I speak to want to move from larger cities to smaller towns and cities. Others say that want to stay in their existing home and modify it for aging. And, some boomers that own a home in an expensive city recognize that they may need to move or downsize at some point, but they want to stay in a neighborhood with people of all ages. Some seniors want to age in place within an inter-generational house with family in a suburb, but the house is not outfitted for this. And, increasingly boomers are beginning to think about co-buying or co-locating in a house, condo or apartment building.
Living in an accessible space with easy and walkable access to needed amenities (e.g. healthcare services, banks, drug stores, groceries, etc.), parks, and places for connecting socially, are all key ingredients to successful healthy aging. Access to our friends/family caregivers and high quality in-home care, and transportation are also vital to enable successful aging in place.
Finding the right housing option that is situated in the right neighborhood with amenities nearby, takes planning. A powerful way that we can influence the housing options in the neighborhoods or towns that we would prefer, is to seek out opportunities to be involved in the actual planning process and design of the housing.
We have the opportunity to “color in the lines” of what we mean by Aging in Place, and shape the creation of the housing options we would like to have.
Aging in place takes collaboration. Let’s get more conversations going – and ideas flowing – about what we mean and would like for Aging in Place. To start, we can:
• Talk to city planners and politicians about their progress with implementing an age-friendly community (AFC) plan, and offer to get involved!
• Ask for a discussion on Aging in Place with any community group that you belong to.
• Start conversations about your ideas and plans with your friends, family, and neighbours.
And, I am discussing home modifications for Aging in Place with home builders and designers.
All of these discussions can lead to us having the choices we want – for Aging in Place in our preferred housing, in neighborhoods, towns and cities!