Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, June 24, 2018
Aging in place. It sounds like the ideal scenario for post-retirement living. In fact, that’s what most people initially think of when they picture their golden years.
But is aging in place really the best option for everyone?
“The phrase ‘age in place’ originated in social service and academic circles,” said Annette Junell, downsizing coach and co-host of the popular Retired Living Truth Series.
“While various studies conclude that people generally want to ‘stay put’ for the rest of their lives, these surveys often lack qualifiers for a ‘staying put’ rationale. They rarely give alternative living options and almost never define what aging in place actually means,” she added.
“Because long-term care costs at the nursing level are extremely high, governmental agencies and long-term care insurance companies have a vested interest in perpetuating the message that staying in your current home is the best option” Annette said. “For them, supporting older adults in the community is much less costly than paying for long-term care in a nursing home.”
This message can cause confusion amongst some retirees.
“People think they are somehow failing if they elect to move rather than stay put, when in fact moving may actually improve their overall wellbeing and lifestyle,” said Annette. “The better message should be to live in the ‘right’ place as we get older rather than simply to age in place.”
What is the “Right” Place?
At last month’s seminar, The Truth About Aging in the “Right” Place, Annette explained aging in the right place is more about choice than location. Panelists spoke at length about how the right place is when you are in your comfort and mastery zones and what this means. Perhaps more importantly, panelists discussed how to be aware of the signs that might indicate that you may no longer be in the right place, changes that can be made so your current physical home remain the right place along with options available when the current home no longer serves you as the right place.
Society says, “age in place as long as you can,” but who is to say that this is as great as it sounds? For many growing old in the family home also means dealing with a big empty house, home maintenance, changing neighborhoods, loss of social connections and more.
Jacki and Carl Holder moved to a local continuing care community. They considered aging in place, but realized to accommodate future health and mobility needs, they would have to eventually renovate their home. “In the house we were in, that was jut not an option. We knew that would not be the best place to get older,” Jacki said. They considered their options, spoke with their financial advisor and shopped around. They chose a community where they can carry on life per usual for now, but care options are available if needed later.
Independence is the goal
Despite the increasing numbers of new communities, a stubborn stigma around retirement living persists. For many people, the words “senior living community” evoke visions of sterile, clinical facilities or loss of independence. Yet, this image no longer represents modern senior living. From 55+ active adult and independent living apartments to continuing care communities, from in-home services to personalized care, retirement lifestyles have evolved.
“There are plenty of people right now who are electing to downsize voluntarily, moving out of their big homes, and into senior communities,” Annette said. “People in this category are generally healthy, active, and financially capable of making this choice for themselves. Some want convenience, and some want social connections.”
Jacki added ultimately adults of any age want to be in charge of their affairs. “Who do you to make you plans? Well, you do,” she said.
Choice versus necessity
Moving involuntarily due to a medical emergency or because of pressure from family or physician can result in negative emotions and difficulty calling a new place home.
Some fight against the perception that downsizing means loss of independence or somehow a personal failure.
“Some hold out as long as they can, staying put until they have a crisis, or their kids or doctor insists they move. At this point the options are usually limited to assisted living or nursing care. Basically, by waiting too long, they end up in a place they said they would never want to live,” Annette said.
Those making the choice themselves tend to thrive and adapt quickly.
Like the Holders, others agree that it is a process and that by attending the retired living seminars regularly, they think of things they had not consider before.
“A key to making informed decisions about what you want in retirement is advanced planning and education. It’s important to know your options and take action while you have the ability to do so on your own terms,” said attorney Richard Schulze of the Schulze Law Group. He will serve as one of the panelists at the 10-11:30 a.m., July 10 seminar titled “The Truth About Staying Independent as you Age” in the ongoing Retired Living Truth Seminar Series.
The seminar will be held at the RSAR Building at 5650 Riggins Court, Reno (near Meadowood Mall). It is FREE for those 55 or older and their guests. Registration for professionals is $25.
Reservations can be made online at www.
RetiredLivingTruthSeries.com or by calling (775) 432-6398.
Pre-registration is requested to ensure sufficient handouts.
Helping people determine the “the right place to live” while staying independent is something the Retired Living Truth Series team is passionate about.
“People deserve to live in a place that makes them feel safe, comfortable, capable and happy no matter their age. It’s even more important the older we get. Choosing what feels right is a personal decision – what others think about that decision is irrelevant,” said Brett Junell, Downsizing Coach and Realtor for Junell Realty Group’s Retired Moves Division at Keller Williams.
Other upcoming seminars in the Retired Living Truth Series include:
- August 2: The Truth About How Much is Enough
- September 4: The Truth About “Liquidating the Extra Stuff”
- October 4: The Truth About Building, Buying or Remodeling Your “Last” Home
- November 6: The Truth About Selling As-Is
- Dec 14: The Truth About All Things Retired Living
- Jan 10: The Truth About Living to be 100