If you ask most adults where they’d like to live as they grow older, most everyone says that they want to age in their own homes or in their local neighborhoods. It makes sense. People want to feel comfortable and live near familiar streets, parks, stores, and, of course, to neighbors and friends. But, it’s also a fact of aging that many older adults face financial stresses living on fixed incomes and most likely will also to need to adapt their living spaces to increase accessibility. The Library recently explored different housing options to support aging in place with programs on virtual villages, homesharing, and universal design. We have recordings of the programs here.
Start with local gerontologist Jeannette Frank’s To Move or Stay Put: A Guide for Your Last Decades as a quick introduction to housing choices. She argues that the most important consideration for quality of life is to match the right person to the right place. While it could include a retirement community, it could also include cruising in a recreational vehicle! Beth Barker’s With a Little Help from our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older looks at a wide range of options – co-housing, virtual villages, intergenerational homes, homesharing and NORCs (naturally occurring retirement communities). The village movement is nationwide with over 200 open virtual villages and over 100 in development. In Seattle, we have four villages: NEST, Northwest Neighbors Network, PNA Village and Wider Horizons Village. The heart of the village movement is to create community through volunteer assistance and social opportunities. For Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General under Barack Obama, community is absolutely essential in countering our epidemic of loneliness. In Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, Murthy writes movingly about the impacts of loneliness on our emotional, mental and physical health – for adults of all ages. Continue reading “Aging in Place”