It’s never too early to start thinking about aging in place
Let’s start with a fact. Between 2016 and 2025, the United States will experience considerable growth in its older population.
By 2025, the population aged 65 and older is projected to grow to more than 60 million. Many seniors will want to continue to live in their own home. Others will want to move to a senior community that will support their changing needs.
Regardless of which you choose to do, successful aging in your home is certainly possible, but may be challenging. It is important to consider adding support services when needed and making reasonable home modifications to stay safe in a proactive manner.
These challenges have sparked innovative thinking and the opening of numerous business and community-based services designed to help individuals age in place. Businesses focusing on performing errands, food delivery, medical homecare, assistive technology, safety and security, home remodeling and many more are all currently available. These added services will help to keep a senior safe at home.
Planning for tomorrow is a very active task. If you start early, it does not have to be stressful or overwhelming. It’s best to be pre-emptive and plan like you would for any other major event in your life. Ask around and see what other seniors are doing, do research on aging in the home, start decluttering and talk to heath care and social work professionals to find out what they suggest.
Finally, I would say resist the urge to ignore the fact that you are aging. It’s going to happen. It’s better to be in the driver’s seat and make choices for yourself. Decisions are often out of your control if you wait too long to plan.
Developing an aging-in- place design will be unique to the individual and their particular circumstance.
The Newark Senior Center is able to assist. In addition to our daily free social services we are hosting a housing fair on Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. to noon. Vendors will represent all areas of housing options and support services providers. Whether you are currently looking to make changes or want to put a strategy in place for the future, the housing fair will be a great place to start.
Anika Turner is social services director of the Newark Senior Center. She and her colleagues write a monthly column in the Newark Post that highlights issues facing seniors in Newark.