It’s never too early to start think­ing about ag­ing in place

Newark Post - - Local News - Anika Turner

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.

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