We are all familiar with and likely share in the near universal dream of “aging in place.” Growing old in and spending our last years within the warm and comforting embrace of one’s own home is a sweet sweet dream.
This is especially true when we look at and try to imagine ourselves living in one of the many congregate settings designed to house (and sometimes care for) older people. No matter how kind and gentle the people who live and work in these places might be they are all tainted by the bigotry of ageism.
The problem is that aging is team sport and older people need the soothing balm of family and community the way they need food and water. Aging in place does protect one’s privacy and autonomy but also exacts a heavy price in terms of loneliness and isolation. Aging in place also denies a community access to the wisdom and life experience of its elders.
The good news is that many communities are developing a deeper understanding of the failings of conventional models and are now exploring the possibilities contained in a “third way” of thinking about homes and services for older people.
The term I use to refer to this new approach is “Aging in Community.”
Take a look at THIS if you want to see what people working at the grassroots can do to change the reality of aging.
Go HERE if you want to learn about a new approach to design.
Click HERE if you want to see the results of an Aging in Community design competition.