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Senior to Senior: Aging in Place

Aging in place takes on a whole new meaning when you find yourself staring 70 or 80 in the face. If you are still of sound mind and reasonably sound body, you may be wondering “what happens now?” You still have options. Several friends have opted to move into retirement communities, but several others are saying, “no way,” they want to stay in their own homes. The thought of having friendships, amenities, and activities orchestrated by someone else is abhorrent to them. Denial? Perhaps, but those who opt to age in place like to think of it maintaining their independence. Being surrounded by “old” people makes them feel old, and they aren’t ready for that. Aging in Place means continuing to live in your own home, but you need to know that this isn’t a given, and it doesn’t happen automatically. Independent living, at any age, takes a certain amount of hard work. Sometimes life sucks, but that aside, it can be an adventure. Keep in mind that if you aren’t willing to do the work, the decision may be taken out of your hands. It behooves you to be an active participant. The idea is whether, or not, you can be realistic. Being stubborn and unrealistic is not a good look, and things may not go well for you. You must be willing to make a few adjustments or even entertain the idea of some lifestyle changes. Consult a certified aging in place specialist sooner rather than later. Follow recommendations on how to make your home senior friendly, and for heaven's sake, be open to hiring help. About 2/3 of retirees feel that they are already living in the best homes of their lives and only a few adjustments may be necessary. At least half have been living alone for some time and are okay with it. If this is what you want to do, be open to embracing technology, adopting safety measures, or even home sharing. AARP has a home guide with dozens of suggestions to help you live safely and comfortably in your own home.