Updated: Dec 28, 2021
While aging is experienced differently amongst adults, many have shared attitudes and fears about growing older. Finding connections and new relationships in communities is an important part of continuing to find purpose in life.
Seeing ourselves or a loved one get older can be a new and emotional experience and understanding that our population is generally living longer puts into sharp focus the emerging needs of older adults. By 2030 seventy million Americans will be over the age of 65, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The first step is for everyone to have a group discussion about preferences for your own or family members’ care. It’s better to understand and contemplate your choices before a crisis occurs. Fears of losing independence or control will generally stir up resistance. Holding an exchange now of options surrounding health, finances, driving capabilities or end-of-life care are uncomfortable, but best talked about in a fair manner by family members, adult children and potential caregivers.
Issues considered without urgency before a crisis erupts set the foundation for a plan when action steps are required. How do you want to live out your older years? Do loved ones prefer to stay in their home as they age? If older adults in your life need help now, how do they feel about that? Would they still want to stay put or make a move to a facility that could provide more assistance? Have you or they planned ahead for these expenditures?
Research options in a preferred community—are there neighbors to check-in on older adults? What services for in-home or adult day care programs are available? And look up resources through the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. If a person’s living space is still safe to remain in, there are home modifications and funding opportunities available to make a residence better suited to meet the changing needs in preventing falls, sustaining independence and support caregiving.
By providing collaborative care, you can work toward helping yourself or others live with dignity and choice for as long as possible. With all of us joining together, we can provide the health, wellness, physical and social support needed for older Americans to live a high quality of life as they age.