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Think Out Loud

Seniors Find New Ways To Age In Place

Pete Springer/OPB

If you are getting older, reaching retirement perhaps, do you hope to continue living in your home? According to a study by the AARP and the National Conference of State Legislatures, 90 percent of Americans want to stay in their family residence as long as possible.

However, staying at home can be very difficult as people age. Failing health can prevent people from doing yard work or climbing stairs. Memory issues may put people at risk of endangering themselves, or others. Giving up a drivers license can make it hard to access medical or social services, or even the local grocery store. These challenges lead many people to move to retirement homes — a transition that can be challenging, expensive, and unappealing.

But as our population of seniors increases, there are a number of new solutions popping up to help people stay in their homes (or “age in place“).

The village concept (which began in Boston) is a nonprofit that brings together services for seniors living within a geographic boundary. For a relatively low cost they get access to transportation, home repair, social services and more. Ashland at Home follows this model in Southern Oregon and now Villages NW is in the process of starting up in Portland.

Other seniors are choosing to share housing with other people to provide the social support — and safety — they need without having to leave a home environment.

Do you hope to stay in your home as you get older? What systems are you setting up to make that possible? What do you think of these new models to help people “age in place?”

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