In the last few years, a number of studies found that about 90% of mature adults reported that they wanted to “age in place.” That is, they didn’t want to leave their homes; they didn’t see retirement communities or assisted living as desirable for themselves.
Recently, though, the number of people who plan to age in place has decreased some. People are noticing that in-home caregivers, who may be needed at some point, are sometimes difficult to find. Others are concerned about becoming isolated as they stop working, drive less and generally are more cautious about venturing out at night or in inclement weather. And some people feel pressure to “make a decision now,” to move into a Continuous Care Retirement Community (a CCRC) where they can live independently, hearing that they will not be admitted by some CCRCs if they develop a need for health assistance.
Of course, you will make the choice that is best for you; but before you do, here are some ideas to think about that might help with your decision making. Your answers to these questions will help you make plans for staying in place.
- Have you completed a financial check-up? For example, how much money would you need to stay in your home or move to a retirement community? What can you afford now? If you stay in place, what arrangements have you made to ensure that your living arrangements, home maintenance, food, transportation, health care and entertainment are covered?
- How is your health (and the health of anyone else with whom you live)? Do you have many health needs? Which friend or family member would you call on if you needed assistance with activities of daily living or a medical issue? Which professional agency might you hire?
- How safe is your home? What adjustments would make your home safer if, for example, steps or bathtubs become a problem or someone in the home becomes confused?
- How comfortable is your home? Would it be easier and safer to stay in your home if you sorted through and gave away some of your possessions and memorabilia? Do you have HVAC, seating, carpeting, etc. that are appropriate for any physical changes you may experience?
- Can you socialize frequently? Do you live close to loved ones and friends whom you can easily see if transportation isn’t available or you do not drive? How might you stay in touch with friends and family from a distance, if necessary?
- And, now looking at some of these questions, think again about your financial check-up. Are you ready for home modifications, assistance for health care and home maintenance, and other changes for your comfort and safety if staying in place is your choice? Budget now for the “just in case” scenes.
Answering these questions will provide you with a solid foundation for making healthy, safe and satisfying plans to stay in your home.
I would be happy to meet with you as you think through your plans . . . and help you find experts in finances, downsizing and such if you need these services.
When we were children, we couldn’t wait to stay up until the
ball dropped in Times Square, the confetti was tossed, someone sang Auld Lang
Syne … or whatever meant that we didn’t have to be in bed at the usual time.
As young adults, we looked for parties and threw the
confetti ourselves. We were mature enough, we believed, to take on the world.
We wrote New Year’s resolutions that we took seriously, for a couple of days at
And then in middle age, we may have been a bit more subdued,
but noting the year and thinking about the future were still important for
So, what about older
adults? Have they seen it all? Are they “over” celebrating? Should they
have a special early afternoon party and plan to be in bed at the usual
I suggest, rather emphatically, no!
As long as older adults are physically and cognitively
healthy, celebrating and writing resolutions can still have real meaning for
them. Planning new activities, engagement with family and friends, volunteering
or working, refurnishing their houses or moving to new communities . . . new
life adventures . . . may be some of their resolutions for the new year.
As C. S. Lewis wrote
Are you an older
adult? Do you live with or care for an older adult?
I invite you to take
time to celebrate the new year and write your resolutions for 2019!
If you would like suggestions for New Year’s Eve
celebrations and making resolutions, look at New
Year’s Eve & Resolutions (Home Care Assistance) and New
Year’s Eve Party Ideas (Medicare).
Recently, “Grandma to Be” sent a letter to advice columnist (and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me panelist – yeah!) Amy Dickinson.
Grandma to Be wrote with pleasure that her daughter was expecting her first child. However, she also wrote that she had an 8-year-old step grandchild. She didn’t publicly acknowledge this youngster because she didn’t want her friends to think she was old enough to have been a grandparent for almost a decade.
Dickinson answered, essentially, that life happens when it happens. Embrace the reality.
And I would go even further. Embrace new paths. Embrace change. Embrace the possibilities! New paths can be exciting and joyous.
Becoming a grandparent is one new path that we may come to as we get older. What are other paths you are considering for your life?
- A new job
- Playing with your grandchild
- Caring for an older relative
- Moving to your dream home
- Moving to a senior community
- Taking up a new sport
- Traveling across the United States
To read Grandma to Be and Amy Dickinson’s letters, go to Too Young to Be a Grandmom.
For help thinking about and planning your new paths, contact Dr. Cheryl Greenberg at TheAgeCoach@gmail.com. She will be happy to meet with you, at no cost for a sample session, to see if coaching is a good fit for you.
The legendary cellist Pablo Casals asked why he continued to practice at age 90.
“Because I think I’m making progress,” he replied.
How brilliant! How positive! How engaged in life!
The Myth of the Rocking Chair
The myth about getting older is that seniors can’t work, play or learn, at least not well. When folks believe the myth, they think they must polish up the rocking chair and isolate themselves. They feel useless to others and bored with themselves.
But that is a myth.
Pablo Casals composed his last composition in 1971, at age 94. He traveled to Israel to conduct the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra at age 96.
Astronaut and Senator John Glenn went into space at age 77.
Everyone remembers that Grandma Moses took up painting when she was 76.
And it isn’t only famous people who have accomplished great things as seniors. In June 2014, Charlotte, N.C. resident Harriette Thompson completed her 15th marathon . . . and broke a record for women in her age group.
Teiichi Igarashi, a former lumberjack, climbed Mt. Fuji when he was 100 years old!
The Reality of New Accomplishments
There is only one secret to accomplishing great things as a senior: refusing the rocking chair and engaging in life.
What new skill would you like to develop? What new adventure is on your horizon? What passion would you like to pursue? How will you complete the sentence, “I did ____________ at age ____________?
Hear an interview with Harriette Thompson at 91 Year Old Breaks Record.