Define aging in place

Why is it important for the Block Island community
Thu, 11/04/2021 - 2:30pm

The CDC defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
Aging in place increases seniors’ satisfaction with their quality of life and self-esteem, qualities that promote happiness and improved health. The World Health Organization recognizes that communities that encourage their seniors to remain active in social and civic life contribute positively to their well-being and quality of life. Those communities benefit from seniors’ contributions because older adults tend to volunteer more, and communities benefit from the wisdom of their experiences.

Our Block Island community currently includes approximately 300 adults ages 65 and older, and like our aging general population, it contains many “baby boomers,” those who will be 65-plus in 2030. Block Island needs to consider what it will take to to create a community that supports aging in place.
Sources on aging in place suggest that communities must have specific amenities available to support seniors in the community including: reliable transportation services, access to quality medical and mental health care, ease of attaining healthy food options, access to safe and affordable housing and safe places to exercise. It’s also essential to be able to contact family, friends, and services through technology such as cell and internet services and reliable personal alert systems.

Individuals and families need assistance with:

1. Complete a home safety check to make it  easy to get around and prevent falls and injuries. Contractors can fit homes with items such as non-slip services, ramps, and grab bars.

2. Guidance on how to prioritize and maintain their good health.

3. Access home care services, including visiting nurses, PT, companions, and home health aides.

4. Advanced care planning includes discussions on medical power of attorney, life-sustaining treatment decisions, and possible long-term
care insurance.
Thinking about the current status of Block Island, it occurs to this writer that we have plenty of opportunities to grow as a great community to

age in place.