By Susan Williams (see below for more about Susan and BoomingEncore.com)
Thinking about being “put” in a home when I get older sends a chill down my spine.
Granted, my personal experience so far with these types of “homes” hasn’t been very positive.
Whenever I visited relatives who were living in assisted living facilities I always seemed to leave the visit feeling quite depressed.
It seemed like they were living in a shoebox.
They would sleep in a single bed in a room that they shared with someone that they didn’t know (and didn’t really even want to know). They had minimal control over their day as it was completely scheduled for them. And the thought of someone coming to visit them seemed to be the highlight of their week.
The idea of not living independently towards the end of my life is not the way I hope I will exit from this world.
I would like to remain living in my own home for as long as possible – commonly referred to as aging in place.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines aging in place as;
“The ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
According to research conducted by the AARP, I am not alone in wanting this. They reported that 87% of people over 65 would like to continue to live in their own homes as they age.
But here’s the challenge. As much as I want and plan to age in place there is another reality that I need to face.
As I get older, I will likely need help.
Whether it’s maintaining my home, having issues with mobility or transportation, managing my finances, health concerns – or even something else – eventually something will start to give.
As a society we are not prepared for this.
With the growing number of aging people who are going to need support to continue living in their own homes, we don’t have the necessary support networks and services established to help people safely age in place.
So, where is the support coming from now?
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance there are approximately 34.2 million Americans who have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months.
When I reach the time of my life that I need help, as much as I don’t want to be “put” in a home – even more than this I don’t want to burden my kids.
They will have their own lives. The financial impact and emotional implications to caring for an aging parent is a great deal to expect.
So what are my options?
Right now, I think I need to prepare to age as well as I possibly can.
Focusing on my health, considering my options of where it’s best to physically age in place and then trying to find as many trusted services that I may need before I actually need them may help.
I also have to prepare myself for the idea that what I want, may not be what is best for my family.
Eventually being “put” in a home may not necessarily be my choice.
It may however be the best choice for those that I love.
This post was reprinted with permission from Susan Williams. Susan is the Founder of Booming Encore – a website and social media network dedicated to providing information and inspiration to help Baby Boomers create and live their very best encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and personally tries to embrace Booming Encore’s philosophy of making sure every day matters. For daily updates to help you live your best encore, be sure to follow Booming Encore on Twitter and join them on Facebook.