Aging in place is the increasingly popular decision to remain in one’s home instead of choosing a nursing or other elder care facility.  We recently came across an article that got us thinking about how this shift impacts the quality of life for everybody within a community.

There are many ways that increased health and productivity among older adults can positively impact an economy and community!  If changes are made to health care, technology, infrastructure, and community services that make it easier for older adults to continue to meaningfully engage in and contribute to society, that is a great thing for lots of reasons!  But, HOW can a community prepare for supporting the needs of older adults?  It starts will addressing some of these issues:

Aging in Place

1. Health Care.  How can the community increase the use of…

  • Self-monitoring devices that detect falls & automatically alerts caregivers
  • Automatic medication dispensers that reduce rates of injury and death
  • At-home devices that monitor heart rate, blood pressure, glucose levels, and more, reducing the necessity for frequent doctors visits

2. Technology.  How can the community increase the use of…

  • Smart technology that monitors activity when caregivers aren’t present
  • Smartphone apps that alert caregivers automatically in case of emergencies
  • Technology that fosters increased connectivity among older adults

3. Infrastructure.  How can the community build and modify…

  • Affordable housing that utilizes the principals of universal design
  • Public buildings, parks, plazas, gardens, and other recreational spaces that accommodates people of all ages and abilities

4.  Community Engagement.  How can the community create…

  • Social networks to increase connectivity & engagement among older adults
  • Services like meal & grocery delivery, senior taxi service, day programming, etc.
  • Programs that prevent or reduce social isolation for older adults who live alone
  • Support and resources for caregivers and families

As older adults continue to “reject the traditional views of what it means to grow old”, and instead choose to “take control of one’s own health care, transportation, and social services“, there are many benefits to our community.  In turn, our community has the responsibility to review the tools and services we have in place to foster safe and engaged living for those who choose to age in place!