BY KERRY SMITH – contributing writer –
With 80 being the new 60 and many Americans living longer and more fully, the concept of planning for our aging years seems to be a responsibility that is relevant to a much later chapter in our lives. Isn’t it?
No, it’s really not.
So when is the best time to begin planning for all the facets of the aging process?
Although many of us are blessed to age beyond what our ancestors may have dreamed possible, the need for planning on how to age, where to age and with whom to age couldn’t take on more urgency than it does today.
Why? If the odds are better than ever that our life expectancy may manifest in a best-case scenario, why press on with the planning today? The answer is actually contained within the question. We needed to begin planning yesterday because we will likely have the experience of living longer than we ever expected to.
For those of us who weren’t able to plan for our aging years before we reached them, it’s still doable to engage our families, close friends, pastors, physicians and others in building a strategy of community that supports us as we age and embraces us as aging persons.
St. John’s Community Care fiercely believes in assisting and supporting aging individuals and their families. Through a complimentary, one-on-one, confidential caregiver support consultation, we’re able to meet with you, help you assess whatever aging scenario you’re facing and offer relevant resources. Our support groups build community by providing a safe setting for you to learn and be supported, no matter which role you are called to play along the aging journey. Our licensed in-home and adult day services offer more support and resources for caregivers and for aging adults.
What does the phrase “aging in community” mean to you?
“Aging in community” requires a community that’s comprised of several essential ingredients: 1) social support (family, friends, advocates); 2) direct support (financial, legal, medical and physical assistance); and 3) emotional and spiritual support.
There’s the practical side of aging in community, and then there’s the equally necessary personal side. Aging adults – you, your parent, your aunt, your next-door neighbor – want and need the very same things that the rest of us covet: health, safety, consistent interaction with others, and respect.
“Aging in community” promotes relationships between persons that embrace all these things and more. It seems that 80 has become the new 60. As the world grows and changes as we age within it, we’re called to see past the generalizations that long-defined the aging adult and build support systems that offer a multigenerational interconnectedness – one that enriches the quality of life for all.
We’re all aging. Let’s break down old stereotypes and rules, and let’s build new visions of great ways to age as a community and do it better than we’ve ever done it before.
And let’s begin as close to yesterday as we possibly can.