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 your 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 with Caregivers
This begins with defining (and re-designing as things change) our own vision for ourselves as we age, including who we wish our caregivers to be, organizing finances, identifying our preferences, outfitting our current home, or moving to (or co-creating) a new place that allows us to stay healthy, connected, and “age in place”. By creating a way forward for ourselves, we also guide the people we will asking to help us (our caregivers) to be prepared to carry out their respective roles, including acting on our Advance Care Plans and preferences.
3. Co-Live in the Right Places
By situating ourselves in the right housing and communities, we can lead a healthier lifestyle, and we can also save on resources. Locating in communities that are walkable and near to day-to-day amenities, allows for a more active and social life, while making day-to-day life a bit easier.
By deciding to locate near other people, we also set ourselves up to be socially connected with the trusted people we know such as, friends, family, or familiar neighbors. This also creates a natural and spontaneous connections with people, and contributes to having an informal caregiver network. These social connections most naturally occur within thriving neighbourhoods, towns and/or intentional communities.
4. Co-ordinate Effort to Share Supports Where you Live
By planning shared (or “clustered”) and neighborhood-based 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. By collaborating with others in your building or neighborhood to co-ordinate a shared service or activity, this allows us to pool our individual resources- to save time, energy, and money.
5. Develop Customized and Collaborative Housing Options
By actively participating in developing affordable/customized co-housing options or inclusive neighborhoods – we can co-design inclusive and more appealing living options. There are so many ways we can co-design customized housing and community care options with others. One option is to plan and build a new “co-housing model”. Or, we can set ourselves up by co-purchasing an existing house, duplex or multi-unit dwelling with the intention of sharing or “co-living” with others we choose. Another option is to collaborate with a housing developer to help customize the plans for a new housing complex.
For more information on a few of the models that incorporate these strategies, visit our Resources