As we age, it’s typical to think about where we want to live in later life. Few among us want to end up in a nursing home. And, most of us would love to continue to live in our homes. There are different ways to make that work. Many people are lucky enough to be able to depend on family and friends as caregivers. But, lots of older adults do not have that option, and the costs of living independently in the community can be prohibitive, as we become less able to care for ourselves.
While we’re mobile, there’s value in living in a community where we can walk to the grocery store or the park or the movies. Walkable communities benefit people’s mental and physical health. But, there’s also value in having long-term services and supports available when we are less mobile.
To keep costs down and continue to live independently, it’s helpful to live in a community with resources to help meet your needs. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that works to ensure access to state and community services for older adults and people with disabilities.
Every state offers a range of special home and community-based services for people in later life through local area agencies on aging, which are part of the U.S. Administration on Aging. Some offer more and some offer less. So, if you are thinking of moving, learn about available services in different communities. Call the local area agency on aging. Community services may include transportation, adult day care, caregiver support, health promotion programs and much more.
Some communities offer behavioral health information, chronic disease self-management education programs, diabetes self-management, fall prevention programs and nutrition services, including home-delivered meals.
No matter where you end up living, it’s important to have friends, family and/or neighbors to talk to and spend time with. There are some innovative housing models to consider, such as elder villages (check out the village to village network) and baugruppen. More on those in another post.