How can a community best support aging in place and why should we? The why is easy: few people want to spend the last year of their life in a nursing home. Not only that, but as the boomers age, the economy won’t be able to support a huge increase in the long-term care population, whether publicly funded or private pay. The costs are gigantic.
According to the 2010 US Census, those in the age group of 85 to 94 are the fastest growing age group in the US. That age group is the most likely to need long-term care.
Several concepts can maximize options for aging in place. One is the village concept. Check out http://www.vtvnetwork.org . If you are on or near Bainbridge Island, you might want to look at http://bivillage.org . Portland, Oregon has 9 villages; Seattle has 3.
Another aspect of aging well and aging in place is understanding ageism. Don’t miss Ashton Applewhite in Seattle Sept. 18. 2016, at Cornish Playhouse in Seattle. I can hardly wait to get my copy of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. firstname.lastname@example.org
Negative attitudes and stereotypes about aging and older people are a huge barrier. Even older people themselves sometimes assume that they will decline dramatically both physically and mentally. While we do experience challenges in old age, exercise, engagement, and education can mitigate the changes. Don’t let negative assumptions become self-fulfilling prophecies!