By Debbie Ginsberg
Do you remember how you felt when you were 29 and turning 30, knowing you were leaving your free-spirited twenties behind? When you reached the other side of 30, you had little choice other than to adjust and move on. Possibly you came to the conclusion that aging wasn’t so bad after all.
“Aging in place” is a relatively new term reserved for the senior set when they choose to continue to live at home for as long as possible. Statistically, 90% of seniors ages 60–69 say they would prefer to age at home and reveal a positive attitude towards achieving his goal. Yes, they are aging—just like you did when you turned 30—and they are coming to the realization that getting older isn’t so bad after all.
One can choose to continue to work or physically continue to enjoy what life has to offer. There is a local doctor who speaks of his 26 patients who are over the age of 100. Two of these people are still actively working, and many of the others claim to be enjoying their lives. These reports boost the confidence about aging well. Research is beginning to show that the fear of growing old is often more debilitating than the actual act of living. Fear of aging has been fueled by a society that associates aging with a negative connotation. The baby boomers are changing that negativity to a positive way of thinking and are forging a path that will benefit all of us for generations to come. Living their adult lives in relative peace and prosperity, baby boomers today are not ready to give up what they are accustomed to and, therefore, are choosing to remodel their homes to accommodate their anticipated needs as they age. Realtors say that homes that are being modified for this purpose are worth more on the market than those not remodeled. Our visionary baby boomers are changing the future of senior living for the better.
It is becoming more the norm for seniors to be engaged in healthy outlets, yet this is not how seniors are portrayed in the news. Words like “a drain on the economy,” “dementia,” and many other negative phrases tend to focus on rising costs associated with senior living. Often we see articles focused on dementia, but the media is not providing balanced reporting by not revealing that a percentage of seniors will never get dementia. It’s easier to sell sensational news than tell the full story. If our media would focus more on the positive, perhaps we would see a decrease in the number of seniors who have debilitating fears of aging.
Unfortunately, the U.S. is years behind in their planning for the growing senior population. However, many private enterprises are developing creative solutions for senior safety and functionality. New industries are creating services to help seniors reach their goal of living at home. For the last 15 years, these organizations have made great strides in growing their list of supportive services. Two industries in particular are making the news, as entrepreneurs open senior service businesses and vendors are focusing on products to help seniors live well.
NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and NASMM (National Association of Senior Move Managers) are helping baby boomers and older seniors to downsize, organize their homes, manage documents, mail, checkbooks, prepare for a move, and much more. These services are customized to fit the specific needs of the individual client. Members of these organizations are being educated to continue helping even while a client begins to experience slight cognitive impairment. These services are often implemented before companions are hired. The “at-home” specialist will coordinate the hiring of companions, social workers, patient medical navigators, etc., and become the eyes and ears for the family. Alleviating the stress felt by both the adult child and the senior, NASMM developed at-home services. Downsizing, creating safe homes, installing senior-friendly furniture, and introducing and installing state-of-the-art-products benefit seniors and bring peace of mind to the whole family. These specialists become the trusted liaison between seniors and families. These services are bridging the gap between busy or long-distance adult children and their senior parents.
Embracing this new support, seniors can and will live more positive and healthy lives and won’t feel so alone and isolated. By reducing the day-to-day tasks, seniors will have a better chance to get outside their homes and live fully.
Debbie Ginsberg, the owner of Uncluttered Domain Inc., is a professional organizer, senior move manager, and at-home specialist. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail Debbie@UnclutteredDomain.com or call 516-984-9365.