When you think about how you’ll be living when you’re over 65, what do you picture? I think it’s a hard thing for youth to imagine because it’s so far away and it’s tricky to try and assume what you’ll be like or what you would have accomplished by then. There are so many factors that will dictate where you might end up.
Most commonly, seniors around the world will choose one of the following living options:
– moving to a new country
– retirement / nursing home
– living with family (children)
– staying put
While a nursing home is a quick fix and can provide all the services and amenities one might need at that age all in the same building, an aging community paves the road for building a healthy environment for aging in place.
“Aging in place” refers to living where you have lived for years, not typically in a health care environment or nursing home, using products, services, and conveniences which allow you to remain home as your circumstances change. In other words, you continue to live in the home of your choice safely and independently as you get older.
There might come a time when you might not be able to take care of yourself and need round the clock care. But for the most part, living in a neighbourhood that caters for seniors gives them the opportunity to remain autonomous and free.
For example, when paths are clearly defined and labeled, a senior with reduced vision and mobility will feel comfortable getting around without the fear of feeling lost or stranded. Think of it as though the environment is set up to take care of people.
The best thing about designing spaces this way is that it is actually good for everyone, especially people with disabilities, children and visitors/newcomers.
In order to promote aging in place, planning efforts need to be put forth years in advance in order to support an aging community. This should concern the youth of today because by the time we will be seniors, there will be more of us than there will be youth! The best way to ensure that we won’t feel neglected from society is to ensure that our cities are planning our neighborhoods for the future, and that there are adequate programs in place to cater for an aging community that might not have family support.
So now that you know the difference between aging in place and other options, do you think you know what you’ll choose?