My friends and I talk a lot about “aging in place” and how we hope to do it. But I realize that some of my readers may not know what the phrase “aging in place” means.
I recently came across a great definition of “aging in place” from the Aging in Place online magazine and thought I would share it:
Aging in Place is the concept that you can (and should be able to) stay in your residence and current living location for the remainder of your life, regardless of changes to your physical, cognitive, or other changes to your body and abilities that may occur with age.
Aging in Place is a choice. Deciding you wish to age in place means you are choosing how you want to spend your retirement years, how you want your home to be set up, what your health care choices will be, which types of assistance are right for you, and what your wishes are for major life events such as sickness, housing transitions, and financial decisions.
Making these choices gives you control over your independence, quality of life and dignity. Most importantly to note, aging in place does not mean you have to do everything yourself; that’s where the plan comes in. It means you get to plan how your needs are met, who meets them and when.”
I am particularly taken with two points made in the last paragraph: (1) it doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself, and (2) it involves a plan. Because, in a nutshell, that’s what the village movement is about. With a village, there is a plan for how people can age in place, as well as help with tasks they can no longer do for themselves. And that plan was crafted by the village residents themselves—so it’s their plan, the one that works for them. Not some generic plan imposed from the outside.
My husband and I are meeting next Monday with one of the founders of a successful village on the east coast. We are eager to learn how they started their village—how they got the word out , what their first meetings were like, what steps they took to get it going. We are curious how her village is structured and how it works for the people who live in it. We are hoping there will be many ideas we can borrow, since there’s no need to reinvent the wheel if we don’t have to. At the same time, we know that our village, the one our neighborhood will ultimately design, will need to be what works for us. Our plan for our place to address our needs. I wonder what that will turn out to be?