Care, Connect, Commit
I’m very intrigued by new housing options for seniors.
In 1994, I started my nursing career in home care, and believed wholeheartedly that all people should be encouraged to stay in their own homes as long as possible. I believed it was more cost efficient. I believed it was healthier, thinking things such as “you are better off with your own germs”. I knew it was more dignified. I knew it was potentially lonely, but I ignored that part.
Then I was introduced quite by accident to assisted living. It was the best of all worlds. Everyone in assisted living had their own private apartment. They could have guests, drive their own car, and have meals prepared for them if they chose. If a person needed a little help with medications, or showers, they could arrange for that help, and remain as independent as possible. But not everyone is excited about moving to a small apartment and eating meals with other people. They love living in their family home, and want to stay there with happy memories, and their independence.
Recently, there have been many new options for senior living introduced. Co-housing, Beacon Hill Projects, Co-ops, and more.
I read an article in USA Today about happiness. In a study conducted to study happiness, the researchers were trying to determine what makes some people happy, and others unhappy. In this article by Marilyn Elias she says, “The happiest people surround themselves with family and friends, don’t care about keeping up with the Joneses next door, lose themselves in daily activities and, most important, forgive easily.” (USA Today 2002) This article is 13 years old, but has been validated over and over. It was the beginning of my intrigue with how best to live throughout the lifespan.
I concluded that the exact format of living isn’t as important as the way you connect to other people. If you want to stay in your own home until your final days, you will be happier and healthier if you are able to stay connected to family and friends, and maintain a purpose for each of your days.
This becomes more difficult as your mobility declines, and your ability to drive declines. If your family is scattered, and your friends have drifted away, you may want to seriously consider a senior living community.
Check back here as we continue to look at options to live in community and stay connected to family and friends.