With the transitions of aging, come opportunity to change how we respond!
Here are five ways to self-organize a more empowered aging experience:
- 1. Co-Manage our Health
This starts with staying as well as possible, and taking the key steps to prevent illness and injury, or managing a chronic disease. It involves cultivating and maintaining effective relationships with our doctor and other members of our healthcare team (e.g. nurse, pharmacist, physiotherapist, specialists).
It means staying informed – and in communication with –our peers and/or clinicians about our health conditions. Technology can enable timely and easy communication with clinicians about medications or test results, treatment next steps, or to schedule medical tests and appointments. It is about sharing clinical information in ways that enable us to monitor and co-manage the changes in our health conditions.
2. Co-Plan and Share these Plans
This begins with defining (and re-designing as things change) our own vision for ourselves and who we wish our caregivers to be, organizing finances, identifying our living preferences, preparing our home with modifications, or planning a move to new place that allows us to stay there and “age in place”. This involves creating the way forward that enables our caregivers to know and be prepared to carry out their respective roles, including acting on our Advance Care Plans and preferences.
By situating ourselves in the right housing and locations, we can lead a healthier lifestyle and simplify the logistics of getting help (or providing help) which saves resources. By deciding to co-locate near the key people in our lives, we set ourselves up to be connected with the trusted people we know such as, friends, family, or familiar neighbors. This also creates a natural and informal caregiver network. Locating in age-friendly communities that are walkable and near to day-to-day amenities, allows for a more active yet easier day-to-day life.
4. Co-Consume and Co-ordinate Effort
By planning, co-creating, and co-directing shared or “cluster” models of organizing and paying for needed services, we can save time, money and resources. Some of the services that can be shared are home or garden maintenance, housing, transportation, home help, personal care, medical appointment companions, grocery shopping, meals, exercise and social activities. One example of this approach is the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) Model. In co-ordinating effort, it allows us to pool our individual resources, along with the government-funded and charitable resources – to save time and money.
5. Co-Design and Co- Create
By proactively participating in the planning and developing affordable/customized housing options for ourselves and others (of various ages/generations) interested in a similar lifestyle, we can create inclusive neighborhoods that foster supportive networks. One example of co-creating housing is called the “co-housing model”. Other examples include planning to build or renovate a dwelling to share it, or partnering with a condominium developer.
For more information on a few of the models that incorporate these strategies, visit our Resources