As we age, the specter of living in a nursing home looms larger and larger. And as time goes by, it becomes harder and harder to manage day-to-day life without assistance. Despite this, the vast majority of seniors don’t want assisted living. They want to remain in their own homes as long as possible — by “aging in place.”
[...] A ‘virtual village,’ a new breed of nonprofit which provides a local network of volunteers and service providers dedicated to helping the elderly age in place.
They assist seniors with anything from transportation and grocery delivery to home repairs and dog walking. The concept originated in Boston a decade ago and has since grown into what you might call a national movement. An informal network of villages includes more than 150 others in development or already serving clients.
If you live in Lone Tree, CO, you’re lucky enough to be in a community that is actively planning for the surge in older population. Jane Reuter of Our Colorado News reports:
Lone Tree’s leaders are planning for the wave, and aim to make living in the city as easy as possible for its older residents. Councilmembers Sharon Van Ramshorst and Jackie Millet will host meetings on the subject at 1 and 7 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Lone Tree Civic Center. They’re looking for residents 60 and up to offer insight into aging-related community concerns. From there, they will establish a working group to focus on meeting the needs of future seniors.
‘Based on the projections of the large increase of those over 65 in the next 10 to 30 years, we need to look at this coming change now,’ Van Ramshorst said. ‘What are the things we need to be doing to prepare?’
Local developers already are working to meet the anticipated need, creating a medical corridor between Highlands Ranch and Parker, and constructing senior care centers and skilled nursing facilities in the Parker and Lone Tree area.
Most people are not fortunate enough to live in areas that are planning ahead like that. This means that it is vital to explore options for living more safely and independently.
One thing that can extend independence is exercise. Everything from physical frailty to dementia can be either prevented or improved by regular exercise. (Consult your physician before embarking on any program of exercise as everyone’s needs and situation are different. Improper exercise can actually make things worse.)
Another good measure to take is securing your home. Accidents can have much greater effect on older bones and muscles. There is a wide variety of products that can make it safer to navigate the home as the years go on.