At our age we are supposed to be able to benefit by the wisdom of our years. But right now it may seem that time itself and other changes are accelerating with a good measure of uncertainty. Students starting college can not count on their job field being the same when they graduate. Global climates trends will improve or not. Not quite there retirees have no solid idea what the financial pay back will be for a life time of work. Making decisions about moving, downsizing, or renovating a lifetime home can seem perilous.
On the positive side much is still possible in the next ten years: curing Alzheimer’s and other diseases and the possibility of universal health care when all else fails. The fact that traditional senior housing communities are on the defensive for lack of boomers willing to buy into the corporate image of good times at the pickle-ball court, may generate other fixes. They can only build so many 3500 square foot homes that are not affordable while a large portion of both the young and the old population want something else. The traditional approach to building housing may sink into the sunset of being unsustainable.
Those are my future forward thoughts for the next decade. For a more immediate timeline, I feel the aging in place/aging in community concept is like a soft heartbeat that is growing louder every day. I applaud as I read about the local counties or towns that are making holistic healthy moves towards being age friendly. I marvel at what Canada is up to. The age wave is going to steadily drift down from a static statistical chart on the wall into a very real long tide under our feet. It will last until 2050 in dealing with what what elders and future generations need.
Even as many boomers are reluctant to accept the usual “senior stuff”, even the name senior, the simple idea of putting things in your house before you need it, is starting to perk. I started this website January 1, 2016 as the oldest boomers turned 70. I was snarky about how we were tired of being fed off as fodder for still more marketing campaigns. The longevity economy is real but so is the Do-It-Yourself generation. We will figure it out and take care of business our own way.
We can not predict the future of the world, but we can individually kick it up a notch on our own. You can fortify your own castle with necessary things like extra light bulbs and grab bars or walk in tubs. However, you should also pay more attention to the local civic engagement forces for aging in your community. Go to your county website. It will have some variance of a Department of Aging title and see what is in the works. My favorite name for such a department so far is the Office on Aging and Independence. Look for an acknowledgement that things have to change. We will not survive with only our mother’s senior centers. Think about getting involved.
Everyone who chooses, should be able to stay and age in their own place, however that is defined. The ticket through that gate is gained by a combination of individual and local government effort and planning. I hope my blogs over the last year have been useful. My approach has been to share insights, personal motivation and information to help you stay your own course. Here is to another year of learning and leaning into the future.