Baby boomers are giving new meaning to an established term. “It takes a village” – used in the title of Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book – comes from the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.” The idea behind the phrase is that people beyond the family unit have influence over a child’s well-being.
With 75 million baby boomers on the cusp of retirement, the phrase is being retooled. Now it pertains to the formation of networks and communities designed to provide aging seniors with the resources and connections they need to “age in place” (at home).
Villages are cropping up all over the United States. According to the Village to Village network, a website that lists contact information for villages nationwide, 93 villages are currently up and running with another 125 in development.
These membership-driven establishments charge an annual fee for access to volunteers and support services (including a vetted rolodex of plumbers, roofers, electricians, maids, handymen, etc.), and even planned social activities. The organizations also can serve as the local emergency contact for members if grown children and/or other family members live far away.
Another way to plan for aging in place is to take advantage of a low interest rate loan to retrofit your home for senior living. Most people don’t even think about this until they suffer some type of debilitating accident or illness. Once it’s time to think about leaving the hospital, many people realize they won’t be able to climb stairs or step into a deep tub when they get home. That’s how a lot of seniors end up in a rehabilitation or assisted living facility.
You might as well find out ahead of time if it’s even possible to widen doors and hallways (for potential wheelchair use) and eliminate any raised step-ups inside your house. Even if you hadn’t considered it before, downsizing to a smaller, one-story residence may help your chances of being able to grow old at home in lieu of a facility.
[ to view the video, “Are Communities Prepared for Aging?” at UC Berkeley’s Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services, February 2, 2008.]
Deciding where to live – and what that might cost – is just as important as creating a plan for how you want to live in retirement. Please contact us to discuss the myriad of strategies available for a comprehensive retirement plan.
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