In an inspiring and forward-thinking section of the New York Times on innovations in retirement, an article on innovative solutions to senior living offered news on several fronts. While most readers will be familiar with the existing alternatives such as in-home senior care, assisted living and independent senior living options, the article features new ideas that will certainly gain more traction as the baby boomer population ages. Often referred to as "aging in place," here are some examples highlighted in the article:
- Home Analysis: The AARP recommends that a Geriatric Case Manager or social worker come to a home an analyze senior needs, and the home environment. It is best to have this resource accessible as needs change almost as quickly as solutions are devised.
- "Age-in-Place Certification" The National Association of Home Builders developed this certification for home modifications to teach contractors how to adapt homes. Although this certification was developed nearly 12 years ago, most home owners and their families are not aware.
- "Villages" A new approach called 'villages' establishes a network in a local area to provide transportation services, home repairs, snow removal, food shopping and other daily, weekly and circumstantial needs. Typically, a group hires a manager to coordinate work across the participating seniors. According to the University of Maryland’s Center on Aging, there may be 80 of these villages established nationwide in the last 10 years, and up to 120 new such arrangements are in the planning phase. This creative approach seems likely to accelerate among boomers who continue to want control over their living circumstances as they age.
- Electronic Devices help with routine. A 2011 study by the AARP predicts that about 25-50% of seniors over 65 are willing to use electronic devices such as smart phones and tablets to remind them of medication, exercise or other time-oriented necessities, and to alert care givers when routines are disrupted.
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