We often surround ourselves with people who understand us best — and that is especially true after a major life change or event. New parents often spend more time with fellow parents than their child-free friends, whereas college students often prefer to spend time with people studying similar subjects. And it’s also why retirement and independent living communities are so popular with older adults. They give you a sense of camaraderie and support with a community of people who best understand your life experience. You can have that sense of community whether you live in a facility, with a roommate, or on your own. Here are a few ways how.
Make sure that you have easy, affordable access to the places you need and want to go. First, you need to be able to get out of the house and enjoy the world from time-to-time. But equally as important, you’ll need to go to the grocery store and visit the doctor. Many seniors have access to emergency and near-emergency transportation through Medicare, but that insurance doesn’t cover trips to the doctor, dentist, or specialty providers. If you think transportation issues might impact your health and well-being, look into a Medicare Advantage plan. Many of these plans offer ride-sharing programs that can keep you connected to your healthcare community.
The goal of making a home more accessible is to allow seniors to live safely and independently in their homes. Aging in place is a major priority for many seniors and the ideal way for many people to live out their golden years. Being able to entertain guests, care for grandchildren, and host holidays and celebrations means that your home plays a central role in your community. Modifications help you prepare for these gatherings safely and efficiently, and they allow you to enjoy company without worry, fear, or embarrassment.
It’s not uncommon for people who choose to age in their communities to struggle with managing their homes, their health, and their social life. There are programs in place to help connect you to your community — people can even bring you food, take you shopping, and arrange for outings with other seniors. While people who live alone may enjoy their solitude, they also want to be able to participate in an active community. The village movement helps seniors who want to live in communities founded on freedom and support.
Seniors can live in an active community of engaged older adults while also having the privacy of their own apartment or condo. They can get help with some daily activities, such as managing medications, and that assistance can increase as they get older. In independent living communities, seniors have the option to participate in structured activities, athletics and team sports, watch movies, play games, and have conversations whenever they choose, as well as the peace and quiet of their own space when they’d rather be alone.
We may not all like the idea of The Golden Girls, but for many seniors, living with a roommate or two (or three) is not only a good community idea, but it’s also a smart financial idea. Having a roommate can help seniors still paying a mortgage or managing large property taxes age in their homes. For seniors renting apartments or condos, a roommate can help shoulder the cost of living, which can often be a burden to people on a fixed income. Senior roommates are also a really great way to have someone nearby who has your back. So, look for roommates who are compassionate, reliable, neat, and healthy.
No matter how you decide to live out your golden years, it’s important to have a sense of community. From churches to volunteer opportunities, independent living communities to senior roommates, there are a lot of fun and fulfilling ways to be a part of a caring community.